Library hosts mini-golf, 'After Dark' event for adults
By JAMI KUNZER firstname.lastname@example.org
The goal after dark at the Woodstock Public library is to avoid the books.
Or at least try not to hit them with your golf ball.
The library will transform March 14 and 15 into an 18-hole miniature golf course traveling all three levels of the building at 414 W. Judd St.
To add to the festivities, March 14 also will include an After Dark event for adults to treat themselves to drinks and hors d'oeuvres, whether they choose to golf or not.
Yes, basically, it's a bar at the library.
"It was so successful last year, we were euphoric," said Gale Hoch, a library board member who helps organize the event.
The events aren't new to Woodstock, with the Friends of the Woodstock Public Library hosting the Mini Links for the past six years. The group first added the adult-only After Dark attraction last year.
For Woodstock and other libraries throughout the area, it's all about stretching the boundaries beyond the bookshelves. Even when libraries close to the public for the day, many remain open for after hour events, such as movies, speakers, activities, puppet shows, book discussion groups and other entertainment related programs.
The books haven't gone anywhere.
But library officials are finding new ways to get your attention.
And, at least in Woodstock, it's working.
"I think the weather has a lot to do with it," Hoch said. "Everybody has a little bit of cabin fever and is just itching to see something that remotely looks green like this."
Mini Links organizers have hosted the event as a fundraiser for the library, raising money for "extras," such as activity kits for the Children's Department, books on CD, and such.
Organizers have been contacted by at least eight different libraries and church organizations asking to borrow their golf setup, which draws hundreds every year, Hoch said.
"Obviously, this is a very fun kind of endeavor or we wouldn't be approached by these organizations," she said.
The idea came to Woodstock from the East Coast, she said, where a library trustee came up with the it.
"He was so successful, he finally wrote a book giving details as to how you can do this and lay out a course," she said.
So how do you do it?
Well, Hoch said, "The first hole starts at the fish tank. It makes its way through the Young People's department, through the rotunda, out of there into circulation, winds its way back and forth among the stacks until you come to a nice long hallway where you can do a hole in one.
"It's a nice straight shot," she said. "The only problem is the building isn't always nice and straight."
Balls must be guided down winding hallways, through meeting rooms, through a closet, into an elevator and even into a "notoriously famous toilet bowl." The ball goes into the toilet out through a pipe, down the stairs and around a water hazard (usually a baby pool with a floating ducky) - if you're lucky.
"This is not easy. This is not just some run-of-the-mill rum-dum. This is a tough little course," Hoch said.
Each hole is sponsored by various businesses and community groups. And golf professionals from Bull Valley, Woodstock, Boulder Ridge and Prairie Isle country clubs are invited to come play a round in the afternoon.
Even they say it's not easy, Hoch said.
Among the sponsored holes is one created by the library's book club that focuses on murder and mayhem, she said.
"Whatever it is they decide to do is always very inventive, from a bond on the floor to blood dripping down a window," she said.
Behind the stacks comes the last, or 19th hole. And that's sponsored by Schneider Leucht Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home in Woodstock.
"The 19th hole is the last hole and sponsored by a funeral home," Hoch said. "Every time I say that I go into hysterics. Who better to sponsor the final hole?"
Organizers expanded the event to two days last year because of its popularity, to add the After Dark program and to give people more opportunities to play. The event will include a raffle with prizes, such as the Tower of Games, golf accessories and Page for a Day for Rep. Jack Franks.
Tickets for the Friday night event for those ages 21 and older are $25 a person and must be purchased at the library in advance. No tickets will be sold at the door. The After Dark portion goes from 7 to 9 p.m. March 14.
The traditional Saturday Mini Links will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 15. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children age 8 and under. Tickets may be purchased at the door.