A summery pastime heads indoors to raise money for children’s programs at local libraries.

The Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St., and Lackawanna County Children’s Library, 520 Vine St., both in Scranton, will host All “Fore” the Library Family Mini Golf on Sunday, Jan. 26, from noon to 4 p.m. The fundraiser will send mini-golfers of all ages through 18 holes split between the two buildings, which will be closed that day for regular access to accommodate the event.

This marks the first time they will host such a program, which will bring out families, unlike the Albright’s annual Swingin’ on Vine fundraiser, which is only open to adults, said Jessica Serrenti, who works in community relations for the Albright. It gives families a mid-winter break and highlights “our children’s programs and services,” she added.

“People don’t associate libraries with mini golf, No. 1,” Serrenti said. “(This is) just a really different, unique idea.”

They based the fundraiser on a similar one at the Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre, which Serrenti said was “extremely helpful” and even let the Scranton libraries borrow their golf balls and other equipment. She expects the event to give families who spend a lot of time in the children’s library a chance to see the services the Albright has to offer, and vice versa for Albright patrons when they head next door to the kids’ space.

“It is bringing awareness to the library and all the different services we have for everyone in the family, but it’s also getting them out to have fun,” Serrenti said, noting it occurs on a weekend without NFL playoff games or the Super Bowl.

Organizers will set up holes in the Albright’s upstairs Henkelman Room, its stacks and even behind the circulation desk.

“We put them all over,” Serrenti said. “We’re going to give them a grand tour of everything.”

Each library will incorporate existing decor into the course, such as by using bookends to create holes and having books serve as bumpers so balls don’t fly off-course. The children’s library already features decor in the form of area landmarks, and golfers will have to play around those plus some toys.

“We’re basically using things that are in the children’s library to make the holes,” said Laureen O’Handley, head of children’s services at the children’s library. “So we have shapes, we have colors. We’re going to do a dinosaur hole because dinosaurs are really popular and we have lots of dinosaur figures.”

One of the highlights at the children’s library will be a dragon sculpture donated to the library a few years ago. A local artist had made it for a mini golf course — the dragon’s eyes and mouth light up when a golf ball triggers them — but then asked if the library would want it, O’Handley said. They plan to make castles from building blocks and set up some fairy tale puppets and books around the dragon to create the hole.

O’Handley believes golfers will enjoy not only that they can golf in the library but also that the course uses materials they’re familiar with.

“We’ve never done anything like this, so that’s kind of unique, too, (and) they’ll see it in a different way,” she said, adding that kids can play with their friends and meet new ones. “I’m just hoping that the families come out and support us that way because we have lots of great families.”

Golfers can enjoy refreshments as well as check out raffles featuring items many local businesses donated, such as snow-tubing tickets for Montage Mountain Resorts in Scranton and a three-month family membership to the Scranton Jewish Community Center.

Funding from the event will go toward kids’ programs at not just the children’s library but also Library Express in the Marketplace at Steamtown in downtown Scranton and the Nancy Kay Holmes Branch Library in the city’s Green Ridge section.

Tickets cost $5 for children ages 12 and younger and $10 for ages 13 and older and are available in advance at the Albright, children’s library, Holmes branch and Library Express as well as online at eventbrite.com. Participants also can get tickets the day of the program.

In the event of inclement weather, the program will move to Sunday, Feb. 9.


If you go

  • What: All “Fore” the Library Family Mini Golf
  • When: Sunday, Jan. 26, noon to 4 p.m. (snow date: Sunday, Feb. 9)
  • Where: Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St., and Lackawanna County Children’s Library, 520 Vine St., both in Scranton
  • Details: Tickets cost $5 for children ages 12 and younger and $10 for ages 13 and older and are available at Albright Memorial Library; Lackawanna County Children’s Library; Nancy Kay Holmes Branch Library, 1032 Green Ridge St., Scranton; Library Express Bookstore, the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton; and eventbrite.com. Proceeds benefit children’s programs and services at the children’s library, Library Express and the Holmes branch.