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TOWNSEND — There were plenty of choices.

First: cookie dough, chocolate or chocolate chip? Then the toppings: whipped cream, chocolate sauce, jimmies, even maraschino cherries.

The ice cream sundae choices were few in comparison to the array of reading choices Townsend Public Library’s patrons will confront this summer.

The ice cream social, courtesy of Cherry Hill Too, marked the official opening of the summer program on June 26.

Registration is still open and sign-up is going very well, said Library Director Stacy Schuttler. Close to 200 young children, 75 teens and young adults and 100 adults have signed up for the three age-specific programs.

“I’m happy with it so far,” she said.

The librarian expected a good crowd for the ice cream social and added extra staff for the day.

Within half an hour, over 230 people had selected their ice cream options in the meeting hall. Others were still waiting in the corridor.

Fortunately for them, it was also “Collection Day” for the library’s youthful patrons.

Collections, ranging from Star Wars figurines to coins to plastic animals, were on display in the corridor, attracting the attention of those who were waiting their turn.

The social was originally scheduled for the lawn, but the threat of thunderstorms moved the festivities inside.

Before the crowd’s arrival, Schuttler was busy setting up displays in the children’s library to entice the littlest readers. The top of every bookshelf held colorful books on almost every imaginable subject.

Children who are signed up for the summer reading program will be able to chose prizes. The more time they spend reading, the more prizes they get.

Most of the children and families were from Townsend and a few came from nearby communities.

The library regularly schedules story times and craft sessions for children. A visit to the building also give kids a chance to chose their own activities.

While waiting for their ice cream, children used the computers, played at the cooking table, set up trains, or even just sat with Claus, the new bear.

Or maybe the name is really “Claws.” Schuttler wasn’t sure.

The ice-cream social started years ago. The first year, three gallons of ice cream was plenty, said children’s librarian Molly Benevides.

This year, Cherry Hill Too sent three restaurant-sized containers. Five employees scooped the sweets from behind three tables.

“This is a good crowd,” said Suzanne Doust, who has been coming to help with the socials for many years.

Last year, 200 people attended.

“They know they’re getting a good deal,” Benevides said.

“It’s free,” Doust agreed.

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