Pop-up library offers free outdoor activities for kids

A library is not just a place where you can borrow a book.

And the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library proves that sentiment as its pop-up libraries become increasingly popular places for families and kids to have fun together.

“We’re bringing a mobile library as well as activities and games, story time and all that to a bunch of different places,” said library worker Kasia Dupuis.

“It’s a great way to get exposure for the summer and get people coming back to see us now that it’s safe to see each other in person again,” Dupuis told Virgil at Centennial Sports Park.

The pop-up library was well used on the windy morning of July 15th.

A group of children were participating in story time with two library staff. But the real fun started after the storybook closed and the bubble dispenser came out.

Four children ran frantically across the sports park field looking for bubbles as they were caught in the wind. One boy, three-year-old Jack Montgomery, was having a contest with himself to see how many bubbles he could eat out of the air.

When asked how many he had caught, he raised his hand, pointing to five.

For long-time NOTL resident Sharon Van Noort, the library is a gift she has given her family for generations.

“I used to take my kids here and now I take my grandkids here. It’s great to have a library like this in the community,” Van Noort said.

“We use it a lot. And when my grandsons come, books are an integral part of their visit. So I always pull out books at the Niagara-on-the-Lake library.

The pop-up library was a great way for her and her granddaughter to enjoy library activities outside.

“This pop-up thing is so much fun. When you’re a grandma and all the beautiful things you have in this town, it’s great. The library, our pools, this park.

His granddaughter, Mayla Van Noort, 6, was from Haldimand.

When she ran to Grandma, she had just caught bubbles with her mouth.

“They don’t taste good,” Mayla said, snuggling shyly into Van Noort’s shoulder.

Larry Shatley’s five-year-old daughter, Ella, was busy participating in one of the pop-up’s new activities – learning how to plant a bean sprout with Dupuis.

There are two options for kids to plant: a bean sprout or a radish.

Unsurprisingly, most kids opted for the bean sprout. A reporter from The Lake Report chose to go with the radish.

“I’m very happy (with the library’s outreach events),” Shatley said as her daughter packed soil into a small container.

“We feel very lucky. We love the community vibe of Niagara-on-the-Lake,” said the Virgil resident.

The pop-up library works like the regular library, but with a smaller collection of books. Visitors can bring their children for fun activities or try the unique experience of signing a book under the blue sky.

The pop-up library will be at Sparky Park in St. Davids the morning of July 22, between 10 a.m. and noon.

August 5th will be at Niagara-on-the-Green in Glendale and the last stop will be Chautauqua Park on August 12th.