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Nassau Library System launches scavenger hunt-style summer library 'crawl'

Mineola Memorial Library's "Novel Staircase," which is a

Mineola Memorial Library's "Novel Staircase," which is a scavenger-hunt item on the new Nassau Library Tour summer event. Credit: Mineola Public Library

The Nassau Library System has thrown down the gauntlet: How many of its 52 participating libraries can you visit between July 1 and Aug. 31, locating each library’s chosen scavenger hunt item and posting a selfie with it on social media using the hashtag #nassaulibrarytour?

Kids, adults and families are all invited to pick up a map at any participating library to begin their quest starting July 1. They can collect a verifying sticker as they visit each location, and they will earn token prizes as they progress, such as a car magnet or a Koozie. “I jokingly say it’s like a pub crawl without the alcohol,” says Renee McGrath, manager of youth services for the Nassau Library System.

Manhasset’s scavenger hunt item, for instance, is a model of a historical ship; Jericho's is a 78 rpm record; Bethpage's is a model of the lunar module. Mineola’s item is the library’s “Novel Staircase,” which has the names of different books on each riser, making the staircase look like a bookshelf, including “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” and “The Help.”

The hope is that visitors also will explore each library and all it has to offer in books, technology and events, McGrath says.

At the website, participants also can find suggestions of things to do in every community. For Hempstead, whose scavenger item is a library bear wearing a READ T-shirt, the site suggests grabbing a bite at Tony’s Pizza and checking out the African-American Museum. For Bayville, whose scavenger hunt item is Pete the Cat, the site suggests visiting Ralph’s Pizza and Bayville Adventure Park. “We’re hoping people will make a day of it around the library experience,” McGrath says.

Tour participants don’t have to be Nassau County residents, McGrath says.

Alyssandra Artusa, 32, of Garden City Park, says she's planning to explore new libraries with her son, Wesley, 3, to see their puzzle, toy and book collections. "I think he's going to love it," says Artusa, who works for Northwell Health. "I think it's going to expose him to different things. I've heard the Elmont Library is really nice. That's probably the one we'll go to first."

Kaye Spurrell, 30, a library trainee at Mineola Memorial Library, says she’s excited to do the “crawl” with a group of friends. “Calling it a library crawl or a library tour, I think it gives people incentive to visit the local libraries,” Spurrell says. She says when she heard about the program, “Immediately I was like, ‘That sounds like so much fun.’”

Spurrell says she is very interested in comic books and wants to see other libraries’ comic book offerings. She also says she wants to find out about other libraries’ free summer events; Mineola, for instance, is planning a free mini comic-book convention.

Participants who visit 45 or more libraries during the tour will earn “the coveted tour pin,” McGrath jokes. It’s an enamel pin featuring the 2019 Library Tour logo. Kids will get an astronaut helmet.

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