Decked-out library awaits visitors for annual open house Thursday evening

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Kilgore Public Library’s staffers were putting the finishing touches on their Christmas decorations Tuesday, a little time to spare before Thursday night’s 2017 Open House.

It’s the first Christmas in the library for KPL Director Stacey Cole after taking the reins following longtime librarian’s Linda Johnson’s retirement earlier in the fall.

After checking on the final touches, Cole’s voice betrayed only a hint of nervousness as she looked ahead to the 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. open house at 301 N. Henderson Blvd. Dec. 7.

“We’re excited. We’re looking forward to it, and we hope everybody comes,” she said. “Last year, it was around 300, so we’re planning for about the same amount, and a little bit more, hopefully. We’ll see.”

The decorations stretch throughout the historic building on the corner of North Kilgore Street and N. Henderson Boulevard, from a towering tree built of books to hovering sweets in the kids corner.

“We changed our children’s room. It is now a Christmas candy-land,” Cole said.

The main room of the library is currently hosting a display of gingerbread houses, part of a contest sponsored by the library: all ages are welcome to submit an example of their confectionary-construction through Wednesday evening for judging Thursday night.

According to the library’s rules, each entry must be built on a sturdy, disposable base using “traditional” building materials: gingerbread, graham crackers, candy, cereal, frosting and more. Kit-made houses will also be accepted.

Winners will be announced during Thursday’s open house, with gift cards and books for prizes. The sweet buildings will remain on display through Dec. 22 (unless they’re picked up sooner).

For more information or to submit a last-minute entry, contact the library at 903-984-1529.

Reference Desk Clerk Blanca Amaro led a quick tour of the gingerbread town and other decorations Monday afternoon, pointing out the library’s five big Christmas trees and smaller trees spread throughout, including the central tree made of recycled books.

“Every year we’ve been doing it bigger and bigger,” she said.

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