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Magician dazzles Wellton Branch Library
There's more than just books with the Summer Reading Program at the Wellton Branch Library, which as a season finale, presented a magic show that awed an audience of children and adults alike Thursday.
Magician Craig Davis told his rapturous audience he has been performing since the fourth grade, when he discovered "101 Magic Tricks" on the shelf of his library and begged his teacher Mrs. Anderson to let him show the class the trick he figured out.
"But I learned something that day much more important than a magic trick. You can read about something wonderful in a book," Davis said.
Special events are often organized by libraries, explained Branch Manager Iris Collard, because people who visit the library for special events may also check out the library's other resources. The magic show was just one of 13 programs, which ran the gamut from a dancer's workshop by the Yuma Ballet Academy, to a martial arts demonstration by Larios Karate Club, among other events.
"We really want the library to be a valuable resource for everybody," Collard said. "Having fun events like the magician is a good use of our facilities. I was impressed by Mr. Davis. I liked his touches of humor. And I could see our audience was quite amazed."
This year the Wellton Branch Library had a lot of people sign up for the Summer Reading Program, Collard noted. There were 150 participants, including 25 teenagers and 25 adults. Children 11 and younger could complete a time log, where they read a total of 10 hours and won backpacks stuffed with prizes such as paperback books, coupons for admission to a pool and groceries as well as other treats.
"Studies have shown that when children are out of school two to three months, and if they don't read, when they return to school in the fall they're reading at a lower level," Collard said. "And yet with the special events kids have fun, they're introduced to something they weren't aware of like a new book or one of our many programs."
In addition to computers with special research data bases for auto repair and consumer health, the Wellton library boasts a geology research room, a book discussion club for Spanish speakers and puppet theater performances run by Dianna Moser, the children's librarian.
Tony Miller, a Wellton resident and a magic show audience member, assisted Davis with a blindfold before he juggled swords while riding a unicycle. Miller said he is in the library a couple days a week with his two children Elijah, 9, and Isabella, 7, whom both attend Wellton Elementary School. He added that the Summer Reading program is a pretty good deal.
"My kids constantly read. They'll check out some books, and a couple days later bring them back for more. They're both at the top of their class in reading."
Isabella, who was searching the Internet after the magic show said she enjoys coming to the library each week to read, but she really liked the magic show.
"It was fun and I got to go up and help," Isabella said. "I liked all of the tricks, but especially when I helped with the parrot."
Magician Craig Davis said that magic is the only job he has ever had and recalled for the audience that he paid his way through college by busking on street corners in Europe. Thursday's show was just one of eight performances Davis did for Yuma audiences during his three-day stopover.
"I have a great job, everybody smiles and is amazed, " Davis said. "I love watching kids watch magic, seeing the sparkle in their eyes, its just magical."