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\"Maybe reports of the death of the book in the age of the Internet were greatly exaggerated.
It seems public libraries are attracting crowds of children and adults as never before. And that is translating into expanded hours, renovations and construction of new libraries in Kansas City and the surrounding area.
``It\'s a pleasant surprise,\'\' said Leigh Estabrook, director of the Library Research Center, which studies trends in public libraries nationwide. Locally and nationally, circulation is climbing, visits are up and libraries are suddenly hip.
Last week, at the height of the craze for the new Harry Potter book, young boys and girls paced the Leawood, Kan. library to celebrate their new hero.
With a sincerity typical of 10-year-olds, Landon McDonald explained why.
``I love it,\'\' he said of the book. ``It\'s really well written. The movie won\'t be nearly as good.\'\'