Smith Memorial Library will ring in 87th birthday with Library Day celebration

Richard Heitzenrater and Joyce Olson take part in Library Day on the steps of Smith Memorial Library on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Kazoos were passed around and Chautauquans were encouraged to take part in various songs conducted by Steven Osgood. ERIN CLARK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Smith Memorial Library turns 87 years old this summer, and Chautauquans — as well as librarians and students from surrounding communities — are invited to join the celebration at this year’s Library Day.

Library Day is a celebration of the storied institution, but it’s also meant to celebrate and draw attention to literacy in general in a “silly, casual, fun, way,” said Scott Ekstrom, director of the Smith. The event, sponsored by Friends of the Library, will also serve as a fundraiser for the library.

Nationwide this summer, libraries are celebrating the theme “Libraries Rock.” The day will begin with loud music and dancing at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, on the library’s front porch, followed by 9:15 a.m. slow dancing and finally what Ekstrom called a “classic rock kazoo corral.”

For the fourth year, Smith has hundreds of kazoos to pass out, so Chautauquans don’t have to worry about bringing their own instruments to participate in the festivities.

“It may be the only library where you’ll find people humming (Pink Floyd) into a kazoo, ‘We don’t need no education,’ ” Ekstrom said.

A former Friends of the Library president once suggested kazoos as an alternative to professional live music a few years ago, and it’s been a hit with the community since then.

Although Library Day festivities are only officially planned for the morning, Chautauquans can continue celebrating all day by writing their favorite book titles on stickers they can pick up from the Smith and wear.

Ekstrom said he’s looking forward to seeing other library communities come together with Chautauqua’s. Board members, librarians and students from regional communities are welcomed to the grounds with free gate passes for the day.

“It’s always neat to see librarians around the grounds and be acknowledged,” Ekstrom said. “(Library Day) introduces more of the library world to Chautauqua, and Chautauqua to the library world outside these gates.”

Tags : 87th birthdayLibrary Day celebrationSmith Memorial Library

The author Kirby Davis

Kirby Davis covers visual arts for The Chautauquan Daily. The proud Clevelander is a rising senior and a journalism/American studies double major at Miami University in Ohio. When she’s not writing, Kirby is probably watching a movie, re-watching “Gilmore Girls” or brainstorming potential names for her future pet corgi.