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ALTON - As summer blazes on, the Hayner Public Library District is busy as ever with a full slate of programs, services and resources for the community to enjoy.

“We’re getting ready to gear up for summer,” explained Mary Cordes, Hayner’s executive director.

Cordes noted that the summer newsletter was just mailed to residents in Alton, Godfrey and Fosterburg Township. You can also read it online to stay up-to-date with everything happening at Hayner this season, or check the monthly events calendar for more information.

In July, the library will host its quarterly fine amnesty program. If you return overdue library materials and also bring a personal hygiene item to donate, the library will completely waive your fine no matter how much it is. Cordes explained that their goal is to help local organizations in the Alton area while encouraging patrons to return their library items.

From 6–7 p.m. on July 9, community members are invited to a Madison County Community Development Information Session about the Community Development Block Grant. Attendees can share their feedback about what they believe the grant should fund.

At 6 p.m. on July 10 and 10 a.m. on July 13, Dr. Dee Kilgo will present “George Caleb Bingham and The River Paintings.” This lecture will discuss the famous artist and his paintings depicting life on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

The library will host two Branching Out Genealogy classes from 10–11:30 a.m. on July 11 and 18, 2024. This month, the group will discuss how to find and analyze vital records. Cordes pointed out that Hayner’s Genealogy and Local History Library has a lot of resources for people who are interested in genealogy.

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“It is a good starting point,” she said. “[Staff members] Beth and Pam and Reneé and George and Lacy, they’ve been doing this for so long that even if we don’t have the resource at our library, they can probably direct you to the right resource. And it’s not just things we have at our library. We have Ancestry: Library Edition that you can use, we have all kinds of city directories, things that could maybe point you in the direction of what you’re looking for.”

Cordes is especially looking forward to the Summer Reading Retreat from 6–7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 19, 2024. Library patrons are invited to stop by the library, enjoy a snack, complete a craft, talk to each other about books or simply find a spot to sit and read. This is the third reading retreat that the library has hosted, and Cordes loves every one.

“There’s usually a snack and a craft and a chance for people to just kind of unwind,” she said. “It’s just kind of a time to sit and talk about books or read books. This quarter, we're going to have charcuterie, lemonade, and you can paint a flower pot and talk about books and read and do all that stuff. It’s just a chance for people to get together and hang out.”

Adults are invited to check out the NGK Band at Jacoby Arts Center on Aug. 2. This performance, sponsored by Hayner Library, will mark their final Hayner program at the current Jacoby Arts Center space, though they still hope to collaborate with JAC in the future.

State Senator Erica Harriss will stop by Hayner Library for her traveling office hours on Aug. 6 and Sept. 3. Her constituents can come to Hayner to speak with someone from Harriss’s office.

“That's a great way, if you have a concern or maybe there’s a state program or state aid or something that you’re not sure how to navigate, or if you have a concern about something going on, you can meet with them and talk with them,” Cordes explained. “They’re your elected representatives, so why not have a place to meet and talk?”

The library is also eager to welcome Neil Gaiman to their Illinois Libraries Present series. To make this happen, several Illinois libraries have pooled their resources to bring in big names in the literary world to provide talks and presentations. Cordes said Gaiman will be their “biggest one yet,” and she looks forward to hearing his insights in September.

In the meantime, you can also check out “Code Talkers: The Fascinating History of Native American Service in World War II” on July 23, 2024. More information will be available soon.

There are a lot of programs and resources available at Hayner Public Library District, and this summer is especially busy. Call 1-800-613-3163 to register for any of the above programs. Visit Hayner’s official website at for more information.

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