More than 200 youngsters, their parents and grandparents on Saturday got a firsthand view that a library can be a fun place to hang out.

More than 200 youngsters, their parents and grandparents on Saturday got a firsthand view that a library can be a fun place to hang out.

The draw to the Neosho/Newton County Library was the kickoff for the library’s summer reading program. Library Director Carrie Cline said by soon after the first hour of the two-hour event had passed more than 200 people had shown up at the library’s parking lot, which had taken on the aura of a carnival.

There were inflatable bounce houses, snow cones, a variety of hands-on activities, free books and the aroma of freshly popped popcorn filling the air. Smiles on the faces of the young guests were plentiful.

“We’re having all kinds of activities — just a whole bunch of wonderful things,” Cline said. “And, we’re signing the kids up, and teenagers, and getting them ready for a summer of reading.”

Among the visitors was Debbie Green, who attended the kickoff with two grandchildren. She said both youngsters participated in the summer reading program in 2015 and they were anticipating participating in it this summer.

“It’s a great program. They’re really looking forward to it,” Green said. “Plus it gives them something constructive to do over the summer.”

Like all the activities at Saturday’s festival, the summer program is free to participants. Cline said the program officially begins on May 31 but she said youngsters and parents may register anytime during the duration of the program, which concludes at the end of July.

The kickoff for the library in Seneca will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. this Friday.

In addition to planned weekly activities, the library has three special programs on Tuesdays. Those programs will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Neosho facility and then will hit the road and be repeated the same day at 1:30 p.m. at the Seneca library.

The first of those Tuesday program will be on June 21 when Will Stuck entertains with funny stories and songs. On July 12 the Tuesday program will feature a “mad scientist” theme program and on July 26 kids will be wooed with the magic of Mary Hahn.

One of the new additions to the lineup this summer are programs just for teenagers. The Seneca library location will host teen nights from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesdays while in Neosho the teen programs will be held 5-7 p.m. on Thursdays, Cline said.

The teen programs will feature movie nights, Nerf wars, games and hands-on activities, she said.