Miguel Compo, 8, and his brother, Isaiah Compo, 4, gritted their teeth and mashed Xbox controller buttons in a game of "Lego Batman" in the Victoria Public Library.

"We come to the library when our grandpa wants to read the Bible," Miguel said Thursday. "It's fun."

With school resuming next week, Miguel looked forward to the few days he had to spend with his family.

A day care, technology and learning hub or quiet space - the library is open.

And the user traffic at the Victoria Public Library has increased during the recent holidays, said Dayna Williams-Capone, the library's director.

"We see everybody, all ages," Williams-Capone said. "We just do the best we can to handle the people and provide the best customer service we can."

Families and students can find educational material and fun activities at the library when schools break for Christmas.

The attendance at the library's programming and events have increased, she said.

Story Time - a session for 4- and 5-year-old children to participate in stories, music and games that encourages language and social development - averages about 40 participants during the library's weekly sessions.

Kyle Bush, 22 months, who was bundled in a camouflage coat, found dragons, trucks and farm animals at the library as he pulled books out of wooden bins and handed them to his mother, Rachel Bush, 31.

"He loves Story Time and books," said Bush, of Victoria. "It's good when we want to get out of the house."

The two attend the library's session every Thursday and always check out books, she said.

People without home access to the internet make use of the library's computers daily, Williams-Capone said.

Electronic gate counters and the number of items checked out are the two key methods used to monitor traffic.

The library's busiest days during the holiday season are Dec. 27 and Jan. 2. The library reopens after Christmas and New Year's Day.

The visitor count for Dec. 27 was 680, and Dec. 28, it was 647, said Williams-Capone. The count for Dec. 27, 2016, was 894, and Dec. 28, 2016, it was 763. The number of items checked out for both years was unavailable.

The increased use is a positive for the media center, Williams-Capone said.

"It shows the community needs a library - that they use our services, that we are a space that people use," she said.

Library attendance has slowly increased since Hurricane Harvey after significant changes were made to reopen, creating a different environment, Williams-Capone said.

Although traffic has not reached normal use patterns, the goal is within reach, she said.

The biggest hurdle the library faces is replacing the carpet in the Bronte meeting room so the space can reopen.

The Friends of the Library Book Sale, whose sales support the library's programming throughout the year, is scheduled for next week despite the closed meeting room, she said.

Normally the group has three sales a year, a pattern they hope to return to in 2018, Williams-Capone said. The September sale was canceled after the hurricane.

A library is a community gathering space where people can meet others who share their interests, Williams-Capone said.

At the library, children learn socialization skills, people without home computers access technology and bookworms use the quiet reading spaces.

The library is also a place for people who need a break, Williams-Capone said.

"The holidays aren't always what we imagine," she said. "We focus on the holiday experience that brings meaning and joy to families' holidays."

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Education reporter

Gabriella Canales graduated from the University of Houston-Victoria with a B.A. in English in 2016. Feel free to contact her with ideas because she is eager to tell stories.

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