There's a new costumed character that will be popping up in Bartow County soon, but before it can start making public appearances, it needs one important thing — a name.
The Bartow County Library System is asking residents of all ages to help name its new mascot, a lovable green dragon dressed in a striped shirt and purple vest, by picking up a bookmark or coloring sheet and dropping their suggestions in the name boxes in the children’s department or main library space at the Cartersville location or at the Adairsville or Euharlee branches by Sept. 5.
The winning name will be revealed at the Library Mascot Celebration Saturday, Sept. 8, from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Nathan Dean Meeting Room at the Cartersville location at 429 W. Main St.
"A mascot is a wonderful way to spread the word about the library," Youth Services Coordinator Thomas Shalin said. "Mascots are fun and positive and appeal to kids of all ages – even grown-ups. We love going out to schools and in the community, telling stories and kids about the library. The mascot will help us bring books, stories and the library to more kids and families."
Shalin said the library staff's inspiration for choosing a dragon mascot came from the book "The Library Dragon" by Carmen Agra Deedy, "although our dragon wants to share books and stories with the kids, unlike Ms. Lotta Scales."
"Also, a dragon is a magical animal, which goes perfectly with the idea of the library being a magical place to visit," he said. "You can take a trip in a book, learn new things, get inspired and have fun, all at your local library."
Suggestions have been coming in — though Shalin doesn't how many — and once the deadline has passed, the staff will sort through all the names received and "narrow it down to the one that seems to fit the dragon best," Shalin added.
The contest is being promoted within the library system, but staff members also are reaching out to the community as well.
"We’ve been getting out the word to as many of the schools as we can," Shalin said. "You can see our video with the dragon on the library Facebook page, too. The coloring page will be available on our children’s programming site, if not already, for people to download if they can’t pick one up at the library or if they just want one to color at home."
At the reveal party, young — or young-at-heart — people can play dragon-themed party games, do dragon crafts, have some cake and have their picture taken with the newly named character.
"[The costume] really looks amazing," Shalin said. "It turned out so great. There has been a lot of positive comments about the drawing and designs as well."
Once the mascot has a name, it will be making appearances and helping to promote the library all across Bartow County.
"Our dragon loves books and the library so you never know when it will show up at library events and around town promoting reading," Shalin said. "We look to have a library dragon children’s club and do other programming with the mascot. We will also use the dragon’s picture on library literature and on the [web]site. It’s a wonderfully big, cartoony, friendly and cute face for our library."
For questions or information, call 770-382-4203.