When it’s summertime, the living is easy and the reading is fun.
And unlike some summer activities for children, this fun is free.
Wednesday, the Windfall Library, a branch of the Tipton County Library, kicked off its Summer READing Club with the theme “Camp Read S’More.” Events were held at the renovated library building at 127 McClellan St.
The weekly children’s program continues through July 23, said Linda Joines, director of the Tipton libraries.
“The kids have been out of school for a couple of weeks and this is a chance to get them outside and encourage them to read,” said Joines.
However, in addition to celebrating the summer reading kickoff, the Windfall branch is also celebrating a grand opening.
Closed for the past several months, the building, which was formerly a First Farmers Bank and Trust branch, has been totally renovated. Although it isn’t completely a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building, it’s as green as it can be, said Joines.
Formed in 1998 by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that indicates a structure was built or remodeled using strategies for energy savings, water efficiency, improved environmental quality and stewardship of resources.
“We recycled the carpet, the glass, all the metals and the lighting. We did everything we could to make this as green as we could get it,” said Joines.
She noted the renovation project, which totaled more than $300,000, was paid for though library project funds and past savings without any taxpayer money.
“We were able to sell the [bank] vault doors. We tried to recycle as much as we could to keep things out of the landfill.”
Regardless, children and parents were more interested Wednesday with the library’s outdoor activities and having books read to them.
With the renovation, the library now has eight computers and close to 15,000 books — a sizable jump from the 3,500 books it had before the renovation.
“There will always be a place for libraries. We have people who come in to use the computers to seek jobs or file unemployment,” said Joines. “... You can read a book on an iPad on the plane, but no machine can replace the feel of a book, or someone reading a book to you.”
And most of all, many library services are free, including the summer activities for children.
Dustina Stout and her three small children were among those who visited the library Wednesday, and they were pleased with the new look and activities the library offers.
“We moved here from Kokomo several months ago, and it [the library] was closed. This is the first time we’ve been in here and I like it,” said Stout. “We can get out of the house, get books, join activities and my kids get to meet the other kids in town and I get to meet the families.
“It’s more than a library. It’s an educational and social environment.”
• K.O. Jackson is the Kokomo Tribune’s business writer. He can be reached at 765-854-6739 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org