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The City Journals

SLC County library system inaugurates new mascot

Feb 27, 2017 12:22PM ● By Bryan Scott

Owlexander the Owl takes the official oath with the help of the Jazz Bear. (Marina McTee/City Journals)

By Marina McTee | [email protected]
The Salt Lake County library system inaugurated a new mascot on Jan. 30 at the West Jordan Library.
There were many different mascots that were up for the position, including a turtle, elephant, owl, squirrel, cat and a dog. In order to decide the winner, the library system held a mock election process that mirrored to United States elections. This was done with the purpose of educating youth about the voting process.
The election began on Oct. 10 with the library hosting a primary election. According to the county library website, “...emotions were high. A write-in candidate, Chinchilla… quickly proved to be a threat to several candidates. Additionally, mid-primary, an ad aired that didn’t present the elephant in a favorable light. In the end, Owl and Turtle prevailed and advance to the mascot general election.”
The general election was held from Oct. 20 through Nov. 8. The community could vote through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and by going to different library branches. Individuals were also allowed to endorse their candidate on social media with the hashtag #VoteCountyLibrary.
On Dec 5., it was announced that the owl that had won the election.
“It is important to bring information on the voting process, by voting for the owl. It’s also to let people know that libraries are a place where people can get information about voting,” said library volunteer Stephanie Anderson.
Men, women and children of all ages were in the audience at the inauguration for Owlexander the Owl. The event began with the West Jordan Color Guard presenting the Utah and American flags and an audience member leading everyone in the pledge.
Jim Cooper, director of library services, introduced a special guest, the Jazz Bear. The Jazz Bear made quite the entrance by exploding confetti poppers, tossing Jazz merchandise and coating the entire crowd in a thick layer of silly string. 
After the craze had died down, Cooper introduced Owlexander the Owl and had the Jazz Bear help in swearing in Owlexander. The owl had raised his right hand and agreed to the oath, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the role of County Library mascot and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the role of the public library.” But because mascots can’t talk, Owlexander just nodded in agreement.
When the oath was finished, and Owlexander the Owl was officially sworn in, the library presented a demonstration of real, live owls.
Three different owls were brought in, including a great horned owl named Shadow and a barn owl named Marshmallow. The trainers taught the crowd some facts about owls, like the fact that they have absolutely no sense of smell and that the underside of their wings are actually a fluorescent pink and purple that are in a light spectrum humans can’t see.
The trainers walked the owls around the audience, letting the crowd get an up close and personal look at the owls. The Jazz Bear was even able to get one of the owls to show off its recognizable “hoot.”
The inauguration ended with a celebratory balloon drop and confetti. The audience could get a better look at the owls, say hello to Owlexander the Owl and get a picture with the Jazz Bear.
The purpose of the entire election was to educate the community on how the American election process works. It was also an attempt to get the community more engaged in the voting process.
“It is a great lesson about the civil and electoral process,” Cooper said.