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Library officials expect rush of vacationing children

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The halls will be quiet.

No learning will be going on in the classrooms.

Children won't be playing games of dodgeball or basketball, in the gyms of their schools.

Students and teachers from all of Clayton County's 59 public schools will be off all of next week. The schools, and the school system's central office, will be open through Wednesday, Nov. 21, and will not reopen until Nov. 26.

The expected influx of students, with nothing to do during the week of Thanksgiving, has officials from the county's library system preparing for an onslaught of children seeking a way to keep themselves occupied.

"There's going to be 10 times more children in the libraries than there usually are on a week day," said Carol Stewart, the director of the Clayton County library system. "We'll be covered up like we are on the weekends when there is no school."

Libraries become a natural hangout for children when school is out, because they have computers with Internet access. Stewart also said many parents see it as a safe place for the children to be while they are at work, and it gives them a place to have some social interaction.

"They see friends, hang out and hopefully do some reading," Stewart said.

She said the Forest Park branch feels the crunch more than others because many children live near the library, and not many other activities are available to them.

Janice Arcuria, the library system's assistant director in charge of youth services, said the library system takes the school system's calendar into account when planning events for children.

"We especially try to plan a lot of programs for the winter break, because it's two weeks long, and the newness of the Christmas toys has started to wear off," Arcuria said.

Some of the activities available for children throughout the Clayton County library system from Nov. 19, to Nov. 21, include:

· Stories about Thanksgiving, and a craft-making session from 7-7:45 p.m., on Monday, Nov. 19, at the Jonesboro branch, 124 Smith St., Jonesboro.

· The Forest Park branch, 696 Main St., Forest Park, will show "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and then make a turkey craft from 7-8 p.m., on Monday, Nov. 19. Children of all ages are invited to attend.

· A chess club for children, ages 8-14, will meet from 6-8 p.m., on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at the headquarters branch, 865 Battlecreek Road, Jonesboro.

· A holiday double feature of "A Rugrats Thanksgiving" and "Ratatouille," will begin at 10:30 a.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at the Lovejoy branch, 1721 McDonough Road, Hampton.

The library system will close for Thanksgiving at 6 p.m., on Nov. 21, and reopen on Saturday, Nov. 24.

"A lot of people are going to come on that day because they will have missed us," Stewart said.