LOWELL | The grounds of the Lowell Public Library resembled a zoo - and a popular one at that - as a crowd of 300 gathered recently to celebrate the end of the Summer Reading Club program with Dave DiNaso's Traveling World of Reptiles.
"Travel the Open Book Road" was the theme of this year's reading program for children, and more than 600 registered at the Lowell library as well as its Shelby and Schneider branches.
Many of them were on hand for the grand finale event as DiNaso combined humor with education as he stressed the importance of protecting wildlife throughout the world.
Among the reptiles he brought to the show was Chiquita, a 13½-foot Burmese python, and Campbell, a 50-lb. snapping turtle. The show also included a tarantula, a huge African bullfrog and several other reptiles and amphibians.
Reading club members tallied more than 24,900 books in just eight weeks, while chapters read by older youths totaled 30,788.
Children reading the most books during the program received rewards ranging from Indiana Beach passes to free ice cream cones and free meals at participating businesses.
At the Lowell Public Library, 2,223 rewards were given, while at the Shelby branch, 218 rewards went to the top readers. Fifty rewards were earned by club members at the Schneider branch.