SULPHUR SPRINGS -- Birthday balloons and other festive decorations greeted visitors to the Sulphur Springs Public Library on Sept. 9 as they arrived for the library's first birthday celebration.
About 60 people turned out for the event. Library Director Melinda Griffin, library board members, and members of the Bentonville/Bella Vista branch of Altrusa International greeted patrons and guests and distributed party hats, birthday glasses and other favors. A free children's book was given to each youngster who attended.
A bicycle giveaway was also a part of the celebration. Twenty-four bicycles donated by Pedal It Forward were distributed to people from ages 2 to 76. The organization accepts used bikes, refurbishes them for reuse and gives them to anyone who asks. She said she made a connection with them through the Altrusa volunteers. Since 2014, more than 6,500 bikes have been donated to those in need.
Abby Young, Lynn Howard and June Murray were honored as library Volunteers of the Year. Each was given a framed certificate of appreciation, and each will be able to select a book of their choice to be donated to the library in their name.
Renee Wall, librarian at Gamble Elementary School in Centerton, was on hand, dressed for the occasion as a colorful piece of cake. Wall has been a volunteer at the library's summer reading program, arriving each week in a costume related to the theme. Sulphur Springs Mayor Shane Weber also attended to show his support for the library, and Sulphur Springs firefighters who were attending a training class in the building dropped in for refreshments.
An elaborately decorated cake featuring edible versions of items from several popular storybooks was made by Kim Barber Rogers. Cake was served by library volunteers and Altrusa members. Rice Krispies treats, Little Debbie snacks, chips and bottled water were also available.
A few gifts were opened at the birthday party. When Griffin asked for volunteers to open the packages, several children eagerly jumped up to do the job. Gifts included books, book bins, other supplies and sports equipment for checkout.
Much progress has been made since the library reopened in the fall of 2022. Thanks to the efforts of Griffin and many volunteers, it continues to expand its inventory and its programs.
Now, with 6,900 items in its inventory, a drive is underway to collect funds for new shelving. Anyone interested may contribute toward a goal of $4,000 by donating on GoFundMe or in person at the library, located at 512 S. Black Ave in Sulphur Springs.
Bicycles for the Pedal It Forward program are also being accepted at the library.