If you find yourself with the urge to channel a Steve Irwin impression when you visit the Gail Borden Public Library this week, you're not alone.
The SuperCroc exhibit is being installed, and the massive skeletal structure of one of the giant beasts is already on display beneath the rotunda. Although the installation is largely handled by Chicago-based Project Exploration, an additional crew from the library and Elgin Public Museum also helped bring the pieces into place. The exhibit will feature 40-foot crocodiles that lived 110 million years ago.
"It's really exciting to see people's reactions to watching us put the things up and then to actually watching them interact with it," said Carl Gustafson, director of operations for Project Exploration, which rents the exhibit to the library.
As the pieces of several giant crocodiles were installed throughout the normally quiet facility, patrons and even library staff gathered around the exhibits to watch the work and even take pictures and video.
"We were so thankful that the Grand Victoria Foundation gave us a challenge grant to bring this (exhibit) in," said Denise Raleigh, public relations and development chief at the library. "We were able to bring in a number of sponsors that came in along with it and really stepped up to the plate and said yes, we want this exhibit in our community."
Paul Sereno of Project Exploration will present the exhibit to the community at 7:30 p.m. Friday. It runs through Aug. 18 at the main library, 270 N. Grove Ave.
Raleigh said she's hoping the draw of the giant crocs will fuel the imagination of kids and get them interested in the library's summer reading program. Last summer more than 4,000 kids participated. Raleigh would like the SuperCroc exhibit to prompt kids to read about the prehistoric animals and anything else that inspires them during summer break.