KEARNS — No one was told to be quiet Friday at the Kearns Library.
The building was bursting with children running and laughing as they raced from one activity to the next, part of the library's 50th anniversary party.
"I'm hoping (partygoers) understand how important Kearns Library is to this community and how much we love them and enjoy serving them," said Kearns Library Manager Jennifer Fay, who helped coordinate the festivities. "Also, we hope they know how much they have ownership in this library. We are their library, and we're there to help them."
Families enjoyed games with the Kearns High School football team, "princess" story time with Miss Kearns and her attendant, a bounce house, treats, photos with their favorite storybook and superhero characters, got a look at the new community mural, and, of course, had plenty of opportunities to check out a book.
The building was constructed in 1964, making it one of the oldest county structures in Salt Lake County. Through the years the building has become more than a place to get a book; it's a haven for many in the community.
Kearns offers the most computer assistance of any library in the county, Fay said, and the staff keeps experts on hand to help patrons apply for jobs or navigate other essential sites.
"Kearns is a community that faces a lot of challenges, and people here need the services we provide," Fay said. "We're not just a fun thing in people's lives. We're a necessary thing."
Ronald Morales, 17, said he visits the library four or five times each week. Morales was at the party promoting the Latinos in Action club at Kearns High School, where he will be a senior this fall. The group, which focuses on tutoring and cultural awareness, often meets at the library.
"This library means a lot to me because, growing up in Kearns, I've always come here just to hang out with friends and to read books, just to unwind from all the stress of life," he said. "The library gives me a range of tools to help me study because I don't have a computer at home."
When Morales goes to college, the first thing he looks for will be the library, he said.
Daisy Miguel stood outside the library with her infant son and watched happily as her two daughters, 3-year-old Jenelli and 5-year-old Allish, petted a miniature horse named Paco. The party was a fun way to entertain the girls for the afternoon, she said.
Miguel comes to the library for books to read with her daughters, an activity she said is helping them learn the alphabet and reading. The family intends to continue their trips to the library as the children grow.
"It's very important (when we come to the library) for the children to learn," she said in Spanish. "There are a lot of activities with the other children so that they socialize, and this helps them not to be shy, to interact with others."
Email: email@example.com, Twitter: McKenzieRomero