WALLINGFORD — Golf balls ricocheted between aisles of books and the usual quiet at the Wallingford Public Library was broken by laughter as families played 18 holes of miniature golf on Saturday.
“It’s an unexpected surprise to find in a library,” said library Director Jane Fisher. “I think people love mini-golf. It’s a game that’s accessible to people of all ages.”
The courses meandered around cubbies and pillars, between plush giraffes and bowling pins and on the last hole, plunged down the library stairs through piping and gutters. Small toys were given as prizes to those who made a hole-in-one on the final hole.
“It’s so sweet, people are having a ball,” Fisher said. “It’s fun seeing kids get excited about it.”
At the cost of $15 for a family, or $5 per person, the event was a fundraiser for the library and an inexpensive way for families to spend a Saturday together. Fisher hoped to attract people “who might not realize all the amazing things the library has to offer.”
She pointed to the library’s “Collaboratory,” which features computers, 3-D printers, guitars and a 10-foot quilting machine as an example of the library’s growth.
“It expands the idea of what a library does and can be in 2018,” said creative technologies librarian Kayleigh Sprague.
“I think it’s good for exposure to the library,” said town resident Thirl Gravell, who was golfing with his family. “I think this is one of the things which makes the Wallingford library the greatest around.”
“There’s so few things that you can do as a family,” said Russ Bolton, of Library Mini-Golf, a Trumbull-based company which set up the course. “And the kids especially love it to beat their parents.”
Traveling across the country to create the courses, Bolton said he once spoke to a young boy who hadn’t ever been to a library before. When asked if he’d like to return, the boy was already excited to come back.
“It has that small town feel because people are so willing to come together,” said Sunnie Scarpa, head of children’s services at the library. She said parents and students at Choate Rosemary Hall volunteered to staff tables and oversee the course.
Scarpa said while a family was golfing during Friday’s nights event for members of the Wallingford Public Library Association, she heard applause erupt from one of the holes. One of the children had scored a hole-in-one through a gauntlet of bowling pins.
“I don’t know how he did it, but we heard these cheers,” she said.
“It’s amazing, I like the one that goes down the stairs,” said Benjamin Cormany, 6, after he claimed his prize of a small toy car for getting a hole-in-one on the final hole.
“We really enjoyed it, it was great,” said Sarah Cormany, as her son fawned over the library activity board. “Any additional exposure to books is wonderful.”