Last updated: February 16. 2013 2:47PM - 171 Views

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As Miss Joanne read the story "Dear Zoo" to them, preschoolers Samantha and Xavier, Teagan and Nathan, Matthew and his little sister, Summer, all had a chance to lift a flap and see what kind of animals a make-believe zoo was sending the narrator.

The giraffe, it turned out, was too tall, the lion too fierce, the camel too grumpy, the snake too scary and the frog too jumpy. On the last page of the book, the last flap revealed a much better pet – a furry little creature that was "just right."

The dog in the classic children's book by Rod Campbell wasn't the only thing that was just right during Tuesday-morning story time at the North Branch of the Osterhout Library.

For parents and grandparents who brought little ones to the cozy, toy-filled children's corner, the library itself is a just-right kind of place.

"They love story time. They love to hear the stories and play with the toys, and they love to sing," said Jacqui Bealla, who lives in the Mountain Top area but regularly brings 1-year-old daughter, Summer, and 3-year-old son, Matthew, to the summer program.

"I like a good novel," said John Grisham fan Sheryl Rodzinak, explaining the library isn't just for youngsters.

Now that she's retired from her job as a nursing supervisor, Rodzinak, a former Parsons resident who lives in the Mountain Top area, has been bringing 3-year-old granddaughter, Samantha, to story time and to such library activities as a visit to the local firehouse. Her grandchildren are fourth-generation patrons of the North Branch, she said.

Since 2010 the North Branch has been housed in the former Abbott United Methodist Church on Oliver Street. "It's an older building, and you know what that means," North Branch supervisor Joanne Austin said.

The North Branch, which is visited by an average 300 people each week and loans out close to 3,000 items per month, is ready for the second phase of planned renovations such as roof repairs and air conditioning, Austin said.

A fund-raiser set for tonight will help the library reach an $80,000 goal, toward which it has been working for three years.

Tonight's gathering is set for 5 to 8 p.m. on the roof of the Intermodal Transportation Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Billed as a party for the over-21 crowd, the event will include beer and wine, live entertainment by The Sperazza Band and food donated by local restaurants.

At last year's event, long-time librarian Austin said, "I met so many people who moved away from the area but they still come back to help the library. It makes me feel so good."

Moments later, a small boy ran up to her and threw his arms around her neck.

"I've had 30 years of hugs," she said with a smile.

if you go

What: Raising the Roof, a cocktail-party benefit for the North Branch of the Osterhout Library

When: 5 to 8 tonight

Where: Top floor of Intermodal Transportation Center, South Washington Street, downtown Wilkes-Barre

Tickets: $20

Reservations: 823-0156

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