Touch a Truck event in­vites kids to ex­plore big trucks, lo­cal li­braries

The Bradenton Herald (Sunday) - - Local - BY RYAN CALLIHAN rcal­li­[email protected]­

A ca­coph­ony of sound in­vaded down­town Braden­ton once again Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon as Manatee Li­braries hosted its fifth an­nual Touch a Truck event.

Lo­cal chil­dren and their par­ents were wel­come to visit the Cen­tral Li­brary, 1301 First Ave. W., to in­ter­act with 12 dif­fer­ent trucks and ser­vice ve­hi­cles. The pro­gram has been a huge hit, draw­ing hun­dreds each year, and this it­er­a­tion was no dif­fer­ent, or­ga­niz­ers said.

Glenda Lam­mers, the in­terim li­brary man­ager, said a lot goes into pre­par­ing for the event ev­ery year, but the re­sult is worth it ev­ery time.

“It’s some­thing we re­ally want to do for the kids, but not only does it bring kids to the li­brary, it brings their par­ents,” she said. “A lot of times, the par­ents haven’t come to the li­brary or the kids haven’t been to the li­brary, so it’s a good op­por­tu­nity for fam­i­lies to come into the li­brary and check out what we of­fer and that kind of thing.”

New par­ents Stephanie and John McDon­ald said their 1-year-old son, Nolan, en­joyed his first chance to play in the real ver­sions of cars he plays with at home.

“He screams at all the trucks we pass when we’re in the car and he’s got a thou­sand of these at home, so this was re­ally, re­ally nice for him,” Stephanie said.

Me­gan Fisher also brought her four daugh­ters to play in the ve­hi­cles. Three of them climbed into the cab of a Manatee County Search and Res­cue truck while her 7-mon­thold baby watched from her arms.

Her older kids, how­ever, 5-year-old twins Haileigh and Ryleigh and 7-yearold Mad­di­son, said that was their fa­vorite truck. Fisher noted that they would also poke around in the li­brary dur­ing their visit.

Lam­mers en­cour­ages ev­ery­one to ex­plore the li­brary, which of­fers more than one might think. Fish­ing poles, tele­scopes, cake pans and binoc­u­lars are just some of the items avail­able to rent for free with a li­brary card, she ex­plained.

But with the ve­hi­cles from the Braden­ton Po­lice De­part­ment, Manatee County Gov­ern­ment and the U.S. Army Na­tional Guard, there was plenty to see out­side, as well. One of the most pop­u­lar was an M1097 Avenger that could be op­er­ated with a re­mote con­trol.

Spe­cial­ist Don­ald An­der­son, who also vol­un­teered at last year’s Touch a Truck, demon­strated how the ve­hi­cle func­tions and how it would be used in com­bat to fire Stinger mis­siles. The event also gives chil­dren a chance to ask their role mod­els about their jobs.

“I’ve had a lot of kids ask me ques­tions about the Army and how I like it,” An­der­son said. “I’m al­ways happy to an­swer those.”

While Touch a Truck has proven to be a pop­u­lar event, it caught some li­brary vis­i­tors off guard, but they still had a great time. Mary Avery was mak­ing a rou­tine visit to the li­brary when she dis­cov­ered the crowd.

“It’s a re­ally good idea,” Avery said. “My son is 25 now, but if they were do­ing this when he was younger, I def­i­nitely would’ve taken him to get in­volved in the li­brary. It’s won­der­ful.”

For more in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing Manatee Li­braries, visit the li­brary’s sec­tion on the county web­site at my­mana­

PHO­TOS BY RYAN CALLIHAN rcal­li­[email protected]­

A trio of sis­ters, 5-year-old twins Ryleigh and Haileigh and 7-year-old Mad­di­son Fisher, play in the cab of a Manatee County Search and Res­cue ve­hi­cle at the fifth an­nual Touch a Truck event Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon.

Army Na­tional Guard Spc. Don­ald An­der­son demon­strates how the M1097 heavy ar­tillery ve­hi­cle can be con­trolled re­motely. It was one of the pop­u­lar trucks at Sat­ur­day’s Touch a Truck event hosted at the Cen­tral Li­brary.

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