Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros slated for Friday

T-R FILE PHOTO The 17th annual Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) will take place on Friday from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Marshalltown Public Library. Free and open to the public, there will be fun, educational activities for children of all ages. Every youth will also have the chance to take home a free book of his or her choosing.

It’s been a staple of Marshalltown Public Library’s programing for 17 years.

The annual Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) will take place Friday from 4-5:30 p.m. with free activities for youth of all ages inside and outside the library.

“Everything is pretty much come and go, with something for everyone,” said Youth Services Librarian Joa LaVille.

Some of the activities will include: face painting, a soccer challenge, sidewalk chalk, music time (drumming), arts, crafts, and more. Kids can have their photo taken with a variety of characters including Spider Man and William & Blackjack the Dragon.

“A big part of the event in the last few years is having agencies that offer educational and recreational services,” LaVille added.

Some of the groups that will be on hand include ISU Extension, 4-H, LUNA, CAPS, MICA, Marshall County Conservation Board, and others. A police car and fire truck will be out in front of the library for kids to learn more about law enforcement and firefighters.

The library partners with YSS (Youth and Shelter Services) of Marshall County to help bring bilingual resources to the event. Lydia Youngdahl, who serves as a family based counselor/bilingual community liaison, said the event fits in with her mission.

“This event is a great way to get the Spanish speaking community involved, as it is a traditional holiday in their culture and something they are already familiar with,” she said. “Also, having all of these youth serving agencies in one place allows for families to see the many activities available for their kids at the same time. My hope would be to see more Latino kids getting involved in community programs as a result of this event. We know that participating in activities is important for youth development, but it also gives youth a positive way to occupy their time when there are clearly many negative options fighting for their attention.”

A key element of this celebration is that every youth will get to go home with a free book of his or her choosing, with a variety of genres represented — in both English and Spanish. Drawings will be held for a chance to win prize packages, toys and books.

The event is made possible with the assistance of teenage volunteers.

Around 1,000 people are expected to attend. Volunteers are always needed. To learn more, contact LaVille at: 641-754-5738, ext. 3.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com