Niles District Library decorates for holidays

NILES — There is a place in Niles where Harry Potter, a dragon, Candy Mountain, murder hornet sightings and COVID-19 testing sites all reside in one space.

At the Niles District Library, Andrea Burns, programming manager and gallery coordinator, and staff have put together the annual Christmas village with signs of the times, plus more than 30 full-size Christmas trees throughout the stacks. The library is a place where people look to find community resources, as well as a small escape from reality. The decorations reflect both uses of the library.

“We had a lot of fun doing this,” Burns said. “This was a library effort.”

Upon entering the library, fully decorated trees of many color combinations and themes invite those visiting the library for its shortened visit availability a little step into a holiday themed escape as patrons use the computers or check out materials.

In the glass case hosting the miniature Christmas village, familiar characters from books, movies and area sights line an imaginary street that could be in Niles. Star Wars gets a special callout, , as the Niles District Library having to cancel its Fandom Fest this year due to COVID-19’s arrival just prior to the event.

Burns said there were many ideas that came to the staff during the creation of the village. An Amazon delivery van and a house with a sign signifying its occupants are quarantining joined the street as well, in addition to a COVID-19 testing center where miniature figures hold regular sized cotton swabs, which look giant in relation to the figurines. All of this happens down the street from where Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are boarding on Platform 9-and-three-quarters, wearing their face masks, but also avoiding a dragon.

“We are going through these times right now. We may as well try to have a little fun with it,” Burns said. “The staff truly enjoyed putting this together and adding the fun little elements.”

The entire library is decorated in holiday spirit, including the Rotunda and children’s section.

In the Rotunda, Burns said staff hung new ornaments from the central light at the top of the dome this year and lined the windows with multiple trees. The trees are lit and visible at night to passers-by. In the children’s section of the library, Santa will soon be riding the train.

“We have people come in and take a look. It’s all pretty and lit up,” Burns said. “We try to do it right.”

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