Laurel Public Library offers family-friendly fun

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Photo And Story By Jaci Webb Of The Laurel Outlook
Thursday, March 3, 2022
Sawyer and Bruin Lowe listen attentively while assistant library Mike Furman reads about some feisty squirrels during story time at the Laurel Public Library last week.

Sawyer and Bruin Lowe listen attentively while assistant library Mike Furman reads about some feisty squirrels during story time at the Laurel Public Library last week.

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Laurel Public Library is located at 720 W 3rd Street, and is open Mon.-Thurs. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and is closed Friday and Sunday.

Laurel Public Library is located at 720 W 3rd Street, and is open Mon.-Thurs. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and is closed Friday and Sunday.

Four-year-old twins Bruin and Sawyer Lowe sat wide-eyed in front of Laurel Public Library assistant librarian Mike Furman as he read a story about crafty squirrels stealing from the birds.

The Park City brothers were taking advantage of the library’s weekly children’s story time on a sub-zero morning last week. Furman had to cut the boys off after their second book, saving the classic Jan Brett book, “The Mitten,” for the next week.

The boys’ mother, Jasmine Lowe, said she’s been bringing her children to story time almost every week since they heard about the program, which runs from 10:30 to 11 a.m. every Wednesday.

“The boys love books,” she said. “They would listen all day if they could.”

Taryn Bauwens was also at the library to do some school work for her online courses through Montana State University-Great Falls and brought her two kids to play and listen to stories.

“We would love to come to story time more often,” she said.

The Laurel Library continues to evolve as it enters its second century. In a chaotic virtual world, sitting down with a good book feels like a mini-vacation.

“The library is an institution, and it has been since it was built in 1921” Furman said.

The new brick building at 720 W. 3rd St. was constructed in 1989. The shelves are jam packed with children’s books, non-fiction and fiction for teens and adults, books on CD, audio CDs, DVDs, and a wide assortment of magazines that can be checked out. The community room holds the Montana collection and has a smart TV that can be used by community groups. Donations come in almost weekly from community members, Furman said.

“We just had a woman donate her brother’s Montana book collection, which he had been collecting his entire life. They are in really great shape and there are several titles that we didn’t have,” Furman said.

The community room hosts two book clubs, hosted by Stacie Stocks, who is on the library staff. One group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 10 a.m., and the other meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month. If you want to join either club, just come to one of the meetings, Furman suggested. The groups are currently reading two books of fiction, “The Only Woman in the Room” for the morning group and “Wool” for the evening group. The library also facilitates other book clubs around town by providing up to eight copies of 160 different books.

In June, the children’s summer reading program kicks off, providing incentives to children for reading. The library’s popular fundraising book sales are held every spring and fall with the next sale to be held in April.

Keeping up with the demand for technology, the library has 15 computers available, in addition to a scanner and printer. Four computers are set aside for children to play games on and they do not have access to the internet. With parents’ permission children can use the internet on other computers in the children’s area.

And if you just want to grab a paperback book and not worry about returning it, the library invites you to do that too with its book exchange. If you haven’t visited the library in a while, you might want to stop in and see what you can find. Hours are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The library is closed on Fridays and Sundays.

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