The Carol Stream Public Library was bustling with patrons Saturday as it celebrated 50 years in the community.
Residents stopped by the library at 616 Hiawatha Drive for kids' science activities, pet adoption information, free popcorn and frozen custard, and the chance to win an e-reader at one of eight hourly raffles.
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Some also reminisced about the library's humble beginnings as a single room in Carol Stream's original village hall on Blackhawk Drive.
"It was the place to go," Pam Smith of Carol Stream said about the original one-room library, which was stocked with books, magazines, shelves and furniture donated by residents. "I remember it being very full. To a 6- or 7-year-old, it was just like magic."
Re-engaging kids in the magic of libraries is exactly why the library board planned the day of events, board member David DeRango said.
"We want to make this 'wow' again for the kids, just to make them get away from the computer, open up a book, open up their mind and have some fun," DeRango said. Kids participated in an interactive balloon rocket demonstration from the Adler Planetarium, dissected owl pellets with volunteers from the Museum of Science and Industry and pedalled an energy bike brought by the environmental group SCARCE.
Some attended the event hoping to score a free Kindle Paperwhite, which the library raffled off every hour from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Library board President Mike Wade said people who checked out materials from the beginning of September until Saturday were given up to one raffle ticket a day. Kindle winners were chosen from about 7,000 tickets, he said.
"We're seeing a lot of enthusiasm from the community," Wade said about the anniversary event.
The Carol Stream Public Library was established Sept. 29, 1962, so Saturday's celebration came a week after its actual anniversary, said Mary Clemens, the interim assistant library director and head of youth services.
Earlier in the monthlong celebration of the library's 50th anniversary, Clemens said the library held a scavenger hunt and dedicated the "play wall" in the youth services area. The play wall includes ground-level paneling with mirrors, levers, zippers and plenty of other moving parts that toddlers experimented with Saturday.