The first chicks, hatched Tuesday at Chicago Ridge Public Library, have been joined by 16 more. | Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 3, 2013 3:20PM
As sharp little beaks laboriously poked their ways through tough white shells, a crowd of about 15 children and adults marveled at Mother Nature’s handiwork late Tuesday afternoon at the Chicago Ridge Public Library, 10400 S. Oxford Ave.
The eggs have been in an incubator for three weeks as part of a promotion designed to boost interest in the library and, frankly, get more people through the doors, said Irene Ciciora, the library’s director of youth services.
About 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, their patience was rewarded as the first four chicks made their way out of their eggs.
But that’s not all. It’s getting crowded.
“There were 16 more waiting for us when we got to work this morning, and three more are trying to break out of their shells,” Ciciora said about 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Lifelong Chicago Ridge resident MaryJo Grossi has been monitoring the eggs’ progress on the library’s website. Tuesday was the expected “due” date, so she brought her granddaughter and two of the girl’s friends to see the chicks. They were not disappointed as the chicks began hatching moments later.
“I think it’s incredible. I’m excited that the library did this because these girls are learning about life, and this will keep them wanting to come back,” Grossi said.
Her granddaughter, Abriella Rayburn, 7, of Chicago Ridge, watched intently as Ciciora gently picked up the damp chicks and placed them beneath a heat lamp. In moments, their feathers dried to a fluffy bright yellow and they made little chirping sounds.
The chicks, when they weren’t testing their legs, huddled together.
“It’s neat because they’re so cute,” Abriella said.
Grossi said she was “amazed how they fluff up so fast.”
The popular program was held several years ago at the library and brought back this year because patrons had often asked about it, Ciciora said. Thirty-six eggs were placed in the incubator early last month, she said.
For those who missed the hatching, there’s no need to fret. The library will allow visitors to hold the chicks from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. There’s no fee, but if you check out a book when you visit, you get a raffle ticket to win a gift basket, Ciciora said. Children need a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian.
For more information, call the library at (708) 423-7753.