Many area libraries welcome new visitors this fall with a program sponsored by the region’s library system.

The Third Annual Library Crawl invites patrons to explore new libraries throughout the Illinois Heartland Library System, which comprises the southern half of the state. The crawl also demonstrates the benefits of a library card, which allows users to check out materials from the libraries they visit.

Some 85 libraries are taking part in the crawl, which runs from September 27 to October 17. Participating area libraries include all three locations of the Hayner Public Library District in Alton, including Downtown at 326 Belle Street, the Alton Square Mall at 132 Alton Square, and the Genealogy and Local History Library at 401 State Street.

Other area public libraries in the crawl include Wood River, Bethalto, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Roxana, Hartford, Highland, Carlinville, Staunton, Bunker Hill, Gillespie, Greenfield, Jerseyville, Roodhouse, and Troy.

Both the Delmar Avenue and Johnson Road locations of the Six Mile Regional Library District in Granite City are participating, as well as the Collinsville and Fairmont City locations of the Mississippi Valley Library District.

The first Library Crawl was introduced in 2019 by the Bethalto Public Library to encourage library users to explore the resources of other libraries that are available to request and check out with a valid library card. Twenty-eight libraries participated in that first year, a number that has now tripled.

Patrons may pick up a passport for the crawl at any participating library, and try to visit at least five libraries during the event. At each new library, visitors may stop at the main circulation desk to have their passports stamped. To complete the crawl, patrons may simply return their passports to their home library.

Visitors at all libraries in the crawl are required to wear masks, and adhere to all COVID-19 protocols. Many libraries are closed in observance of Columbus Day on October 11, so anyone planning a visit should call ahead to check on hours of operation.

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