Creating smiles at Harpersville library (community column)

By KATHY COPELAND / Community Columnist

How many times have you heard, “Shhh” when you enter a library? Well, not in Harpersville. “We make noise here, said Marsha Moore, director at the Harpersville Community Library. “Reading should be fun; summertime might mean we get loud.”

On June 13 that was exactly what happened. Part of the Summer Reading Program, the library sponsored an afternoon of fun with reading, and arts and crafts, and it appeared some free play activities.

Making good use of the town’s new Community Center, there was plenty of room for age appropriate activities. Everyone came together for the wrap up activity, adult and teenage volunteers included.

The program included a special guest. Large in stature but gentle in nature, “Duck” Haywood is quite the entertainer. He has an obvious love of children, and this crowd—children and adults alike—were captivated by his balloon tying skills.

The library offers a variety of programs designed to enrich the community, and it adds convenience to the traditional library services. As part of the Shelby County Library System, the library has access to most of the resources at any Shelby County Library, and because it is part of the county system, materials can be picked up or dropped off at any library.

“We want to provide a friendly atmosphere for people in the community to obtain the resources and information they are looking for quickly. In the summer, we love the sound of children,” said Moore.

If the name “Duck” sounds familiar, you may know him as the talented Bible storyteller. He took an audience at the First Baptist Church in Harpersville through the Bible in 30 minutes over soup and a sandwich on a cold winter evening back in January. He has recently been invited to tell the story at several other churches in Shelby County.

This same man spent 12 years in the Army—Military Police, to be exact—which he tells is where he learned the art of tying balloons into entertaining creatures and novelties. He is undoubtedly multi-talented and clearly has a creative streak hidden in his Teddy Bear persona. His wife Jody said, “He loves this; he has been tying balloons for days.”

It truly was a joy to watch him pull a unique balloon from the bag for each child as they enjoyed homemade snacks, carefully set out by the volunteers.

Why does he do this? “If Ms. Marsha needs help, I’m happy to help,” said Duck. As for Ms. Marsha, she explained she is passionate about kids. “Learning to read should be fun. This is fun.”

As children were leaving and clean-up was underway, Duck worked on a balloon for each of the ladies who handled refreshments. It was a sweet interaction that brought smiles to their faces.

“It’s important to take a break from life’s grind. I love kids and would like to visit with the seniors,” Duck said. “Sometimes it’s the simple things that give more lasting joy than material things.”

Kathy Copeland is a community columnist covering Harpersville and Vincent.