Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and other Star Wars villains stood at the front of a noisy room of the Saturday afternoon, where excited young Star Wars fans and their families—a total of 275 people—gathered for a few hours of fun and games.

The Star Wars ‘bad guys’ were actually costumed volunteers of Garrison Carida, a charity-focused costuming group (part of the 501st Legion, an all-volunteer costuming organization) who frequent various community-related events across Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia.

The event, a cooperative effort of the township and the , was free to attend, and did not require the use of funds. It was organized by Springfield Library Director Audrey Blossic with library assistants Amber Bleiler and Julie Devaney. Former Head of Youth Services Alyssa Moore came up with the idea to contact Garrison Carida earlier on in the fall.

The purpose of , according to Blossic, was to promote the programs of the library, which foster childhood literary. It was meant “just to tie in with the interest of the children,” Blossic said. “They read a lot of Star Wars books and it was fun to make the characters in the books come alive.”

An introduction of the villains and a game of Star Wars trivia kicked off the set of planned activities. Many children, some equipped with Star Wars clothes, costumes and gear, shot up their hands to answer questions like, “What was Darth Vader’s toughest fight?” and “What color is Darth Vader’s light saber?” Children knew almost all the answers on the first try.

Trivia games were followed by audience questions for the villains. The topic of interest seemed to revolve around Darth Vader’s hand being cut off several times and a part of the movie in which Darth Vader’s hand is severed by his son Luke during a dispute between the two characters.

The Q & A was followed by a raffle of prizes. Fans checked the numbers on the red tickets they had received at the entrance of the building earlier to determine if they were the winner of items like: Star Wars puzzles, a Star Wars Lego book, figurines, a rotating Stormtrooper toy, and a black Darth Vader gumball machine.

Finally, attendees lined up at the front of the room to wait their turn to meet and take pictures with the Star Wars villains in the crowded lobby. Cameras flashed as parents gathered around in groups to watch and wait their turn to snap shots of their children beside the characters before heading out.

The event was an overall success, according to Blossic. “It went very well,” she said. “I was very pleased.”

Springfield Library Programs & Upcoming Plans

According to Blossic, the library uses the township building about four times a year to host large events. Four smaller programs are held at the library during the year, in addition to its weekly programs like ‘,’ ‘,’ ‘,’ ‘,’ and ‘Pre-walker Circle Time,’ among others, which can be found on the library website.

Library programs are important because they foster childhood learning, Blossic said.

“We’re involved in early literacy. —that’s the buzz word. Our programs are geared toward reading and math literacy and we follow sate standards,” Blossic said.

A total of 38 weeks go into planning library events, however, planning continues throughout the year. The end of the school year should bring about some new ideas for activities, Blossic said.

“We’re gearing up and starting to plan for summer,” she said.

The next library special event is set for the week of April 16, when the library, in conjunction with the Rotary Club, will visit the and classrooms in the area to promote this year’s ‘One Book Pennsylvania’ book. This year’s book of interest is “Stop Snoring, Bernard!” by Zachariah O’Hora.

The , being conducted by the Friends of Springfield Library, is also coming up. It’s set to take place April 21-23.

Funding for library events come from the Annual Fund Drive, to which people can donate at any time.

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