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By Stephen Press
Hometown Weekly Staff
Silence, save the whir of a running fan, envelops the clean, well-lit room on the ground floor of the Dover Town Library. Outside the door, a handful of kids peek through the door, wondering if their time to enter has come. With a kind smile and a motion of her hand, the librarian waves them in. The kids quietly file into the comfortably cool room, taking their seats in front of a television. They’re not here for a book club or reading group, but to watch “The Peanuts Movie.”
Not your father’s library, perhaps. But then, the movie event is perfectly emblematic of the myriad diverse offerings on offer here. The Dover Town Library, a quaint-looking brick building in Dover center, is not simply a collection of bookshelves and research resources. It is a center for learning and cultural engagement.
“We show a couple movies over the summer to beat the heat,” says Lauren Berghman, Library Assistant and Young Adult Librarian. “We have a couple different activities that happen over the summer. This is a nice way to have an air-conditioned room and also watch a movie that’s more recent.”
“We showed another film last year, a 4D movie,” recalls Berghman. “Some teens did some interactive activities where they spritzed water into the crowd. It was a different take on the movie, but they had a lot of fun. There was a big turnout for that one.”
The screenings aren’t the only things that might strike the casual observer as atypical for a library. Just upstairs, a green screen set up in one of the building’s corners plays host to a virtual reality station. There’s even a 3D printer available to those who would like to explore its capabilities.
The Dover Library, it seems, is well ahead of the curve in embracing new technologies and cultural offerings. There are even video games among the resources.
“We have two different game stations, one’s upstairs and one’s downstairs,” confirms Berghman as she looks down the hall at a rather plush-looking game station. “You can check video games out like a book, and you can play the games here.”
“It’s progressive. It’s having items available that you can learn how to use,” she says as she takes a peek back into the room of children. They face forward, uniformly transfixed by Snoopy’s antics.
“It’s another approach to learning,” Berghman concludes with a nod.