The Longview Public Library might be a quiet place today, but by Friday it will be place where a lot of stranger things are happening — a zombie apocalypse to be exact, along with an alien invasion, encounters with killer clowns and scary dolls, and the strangest stranger thing of all — a Demogorgon.
The library will close for its usual book business Friday and Saturday as its transformation to the “Haunted Library” is complete. The haunted house will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
“It is a fundraiser for our Friends of the Library,” said Library Director Jennifer Eldridge. Admission costs $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 12 and younger, with proceeds paying for the event and providing money the Friends of the Longview Public Library uses to support the library. The organization also conducts other fundraisers that help provide library programming, such as the Summer Reading Club.
“We really have a lot of fun,” Eldridge said of the library staff members and some 130 volunteers who have annually produced Haunted Library since 2013. She said most of the volunteers are students from local high schools who don scary costumes to make the Haunted Library complete.
“We couldn’t do it without them,” she said.
“They’re the ones who actually do the scaring,” she added.
The Haunted Library will weave its way through much of the library. The rotunda has been transformed into an urban area that has been taken over by zombies, complete with real motorcycles. The haunted forest is located in what is normally the children’s area, and a swamp with a pirate ship has taken over the periodicals area. A nuclear fallout is taking over another section of the library, followed by the one that makes Eldridge shudder when she talks about it — dolls.
“It’s a really, really creepy area,” she said, describing the teens who dress up as dolls and help scare visitors to the Haunted Library.
The haunted morgue is located in the local history and genealogy room, with Eldridge explaining that the scene incorporates actual old hospital sheets. Eldridge said her mother thinks the sheets make the area actually smell like a hospital.
“It really actually does, but it plays into our favor,” Eldridge said.
The area right before the exit pays homage to the popular Netflix series “Stranger Things,” complete with its signature monster, the Demogorgon.
It all adds up to one scary experience, Eldridge said, one that even spooks some of the adults that go through. For that reason, she adds this warning for parents:
“Know your kids,” she said. Because the library is a public building it can’t prevent people from bringing their children, but Eldridge said Haunted Library isn’t recommended for anyone under the age of 10.
The library expects about 3,000 people will make their way through the Haunted Library. Attendees can cut down on their wait time by purchasing tickets in advance, by today, at the library to receive line priority. Attendees should be in line by 7 p.m. each night to be guaranteed entry.