An alligator ate my library book!

This could have been a reality on Saturday at the Bettendorf Public Library’s fifth annual Kids’ Experience event with Jim Nesci’s popular reptile petting zoo featured on the library’s front lawn and his gators roaming free for petting and photos.

Whether you were new to Saturday’s event or a first-time visitor, there was plenty to learn and do for young and old alike. Events and classes included bubbles, coin collecting, dance, drawing and cartooning, face painting, juggling, money matters, origami, paper rockets, pastels, string figures and tae kwon do.

After visiting the gators, handling a ball python and shooting off homemade rockets outside, visitors could enter the front doors and be greeted by live music from Jon Eric and numerous classes featured in every nook of the library.

In one of the second-floor rooms, children were busy learning to draw their own cartoons with teacher and artist Bill Douglas.

“I am drawing an evil flying teddy bear,” said Siobhan Morley, a fifth-grader at Hopewell Elementary. Her brother, James Morley, a second-grader, also was busy drawing an evil robot.

Children scurried between activities, and many lined up to have their faces painted with Laura Anderson.

“I plan to get my face painted after this,” Miranda Jackson, fourth-grader at Riverdale Heights said

during her money matters class in which she kept busy counting coins.

The Kids’ Experience event is meant to act as an extension of the library’s collection of services and a way to bring more life to the community and the library, said Tami Finley, the library’s youth services manager.

“It is such a great way to expand the library collection, giving kids a taste of different classes and showing them that they can come to the library to find more information on those offerings,” she said.

Finley estimated crowd to be about 1,200, better than last year’s turnout.

The library has numerous sponsors to thank for the event including, The Quad-City Bank & Trust, Greenspace Associates, Tracy Wachal Naab, State Farm Insurance, Doyle and Keenan,P.C., Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and all the instructors and volunteers that make the event possible.

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