The Hays Public Library long ago broke the stereotype of the silent library, but Saturday morning was especially raucous as children and their families gathered for some holiday fun with Santa.
An 8 a.m. breakfast and 11 a.m. brunch each attracted more than 50 people, nearly a full house for the free events in the library’s Schmidt Gallery. After being seated by library staff, the children and their families were treated to a donut, yogurt and juice. It wasn’t long before Santa Claus arrived, receiving applause and squeals of delight from the children.
Santa visited with all the children while library staff led others in games, guessing how many jingle bells were in a cup or “pass the stocking,” in which they had to complete a series of holiday-themed gestures like making reindeer antlers before receiving the stocking from their team-mate.
Christmas bingo and a story from Santa rounded out the activities.
Children and their families could then go upstairs to the story room in the children’s department for pictures and a chance to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas.
The photo opportunities gave the staff a chance to clean up and set up the gallery for activities that continued all day, which included caroling with the Hays Community Theaer and a hot chocolate bar, a screening of the movie “Frozen” and photo opportunties with Olaf from the movie and characters from the children’s series “Paw Patrol.”
Dustin Key, the library’s IT administrator, said the response to the events was overwhelming. The library posted a 15-second video of “Paw Patrol” characters dancing on its Facebook page two weeks ago.
“Last we looked, we had 22,000 hits on it, which was way more than we’ve gotten on anything else,” he said.
“I can’t wait to see this place later today,” he said after the brunch. “We’ve done more this year I feel like than we’ve done any year in the past.”
“It’s totally worth it,” Laura Wright, children’s library assistant, said of all the work put into the day.
In the evening, the library re-opened its doors at 5:15 to offer hot chocolate and a warm place to watch the lighted Frost Fest parade from.