Library gets ready to host a winter wonderland

Patrons are asked to bring an unwrapped toy for a child in need

The Free Public Library of Monroe Township is preparing to host a one-night winter wonderland on Wednesday, Dec 16.

Staffers will decorate the library garden from beginning to end with Christmas lights, inflatable Christmas decor and bright and cheery props. Residents will be able to walk through the winter wonderland between 6 and 7 p.m. A rain date is scheduled for Monday, Dec 21.

“We are really excited for this and we hope everyone else is too,” said Children’s Librarian Katrina Hauserman. “We are trying to think of different ways to make it fun for kids and families as well. We think that this is something that is good for everyone … We want to enlighten everyone’s spirits.”

The event’s finale will be the decked-out gazebo covered in lights and Christmas lanterns with a backdrop of Santa for family photos. The library also hopes Santa will make an appearance. 

Children are encouraged to bring their letters to Santa to be placed in the North Pole mailbox nearby the gazebo. The mailbox makes an appearance at the library every year to help kids from all over get their messages and lists delivered. 

“We know a lot of these places are closed or these things are inside, so they are not going to be able to be done,” Hauserman noted. “We will be following the social-distancing guidelines; we are requiring everyone to wear a mask.”

At the end of the event, children will receive a gift bag filled with all sorts of things to bring holiday cheer. Items will include supplies for make-your-own ornaments, a holiday-themed magnet as well as all the supplies to make hot cocoa and reindeer food for Christmas Eve. The gift bags will be available for the first 100 patrons.

“We aren’t doing any registration, so anyone can come and walk through it,” Hauserman said. “Even if we run out of supplies, kids can still come and walk through and leave their letter for Santa.”

Hauserman is also asking patrons to bring an unwrapped toy for a boy or girl of any age that can be sent to a child in need. There will be a decorated box at the entrance of the wonderland where toys can be delivered.

Despite the pandemic, the library is still open for customers to request and borrow books, movies and audio books. There is also a curb-side delivery option.

“Anyone can call us: They don’t have to be part of our library. They can be part of any library in Gloucester County,” Hauserman said. 

Patrons can call the library and request books, audio books and movies for checkout. Staffers will gather the items requested, place them in a bag with the patron’s name and set up a pickup time. Patrons then pull up to the library and receive their items.

For more information about the library, visit http://www.monroetpl.org