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Library draws large crowd for educational, entertaining experience

The Greenville-Butler County Public Library traded books for birds, snakes and an assortment of other creatures during its Animal Architects event.

Animal Architects, as the name would suggest, enlightened a sizable crowd of children and adults on how seemingly human concepts such as architecture, design, excavation and construction all occur on a regular basis in nature.

The event highlighted animals that constructed their own homes, or similar structures, in nature.

Such featured animals included black-tailed prairie dogs, African spurred tortoises, carpet pythons, red-knee tarantulas, kinkajous, von der Decken’s hornbill and more.

John Ham, Southeast director for Animal Tales, handled the animals and explained how each creature builds in its respective habitat.

Kevin Pearcy, director of the Greenville-Butler County Public Library, said that this week’s animal-centric event was hardly the first for the library, noting previous events with the Alabama 4H Club that brought birds of prey and reptiles to the library’s halls.

But if children’s reactions were any indication, this most recent event could’ve been one of the best.

“What I like about these programs that it gives children hands-on interaction with these animals, but it’s also educational,” Pearcy said. “It enlightens children, teens and adults on how these animals live, and it gives them a first-hand basis with these animals that you certainly don’t see around Butler County very much.”

A diverse audience turned up for hands-on experience with the animals.  A group of nearly 60—composed of children, teens and adults—were similarly mystified by Mother Nature, and Pearcy thought that the turnout was a good one, considering the circumstances.

“That’s pretty good, considering the way the weather has been for the past three or four days, and not knowing how the tropical storm was going to impact us,” Pearcy said. “So that’s really a lot more than I thought we would have.  I would consider it a good turnout.”

Animal Architects also underscored the value of keeping kids engaged while out of school for the summer.  Pearcy noted that such summer events were vital toward students retaining what they’ve learned throughout the school year.

“I constantly try to hammer it home that children who read during the summer don’t lose what they gained over the school year,” he said.

“So it’s very important to keep reading throughout the summer to avoid what we call the summer slump. When you get back into doing things in August, you don’t have to play catch-up again.”

The library will continue its summer programs for the next several weeks, with its regular summer reading schedule kicking off next week for children ages 4-10.

Events will be held each Tuesday and Thursday for the next five weeks (excluding the week of Independence Day) at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., in which young students can participate in a variety of educational activities and enjoy snacks.