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Niles District Library usage soars in heat

NILES, Mich. -- The heat has actually been a good thing for the Niles District Library.

In June alone, nearly 20,000 items were checked out. That is a 22 percent jump over last year and those working there think the heat has been driving traffic.

"Air conditioned. I just use them for the air conditioner," said Brittany Gaitor. The recording breaking heat has those in Niles looking for ways to stay cool and they found it at the library.

"Oh, definitely better than at home. It's all nice an cool and even. Sometimes I even have to wear a hoodie in here," said Maxine Murray.

Murray just got a library card and says reading and studying at the library is a great way to beat the heat. "It's good that we have this in our community and that people are choosing this as an option instead of just going to the theater or walking around the mall and wasting the day".

Those at the library say this is one of the busies summers they have had. In June, more than 7,000 children's books and over 1,500 teen books were checked out. Rhonda Belcher, the head of the youth services department, said it's not all the heat. She said it also has to do with several new programs the library offers now.

"Our programming statistics are also up. So, people are coming and doing stuff in the library and then grabbing a book or two on their way out," said Belcher.

Belcher said they have also focused more on the teen section, creating a theme centered around all the vampire rage -- and it seems to be working.

Brittany Gaitor is just one of the many teens who's making the library their summer hang out. "I check out books about movies, about drama, and teens in high school".

Whether it's the heat or not, Belcher said she is thrilled to see an increased interest in the library. Whatever it takes to get more kids reading!

Last summer the library only offered summer reading for prizes. Now, the library offers a program every day of the week that is gears towards kids and teens.

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