BUCKHANNON – School’s out, but summertime doesn’t have to mean a lull in learning for kids, teens or adults.
In fact, the purpose of the Upshur County Public Library’s month-long summer reading program is to engage minds of all ages. The library’s reading program, “A Universe of Stories,” starts July 1 and continues through July 31.
So, what’s new this year?
The library will offer three different summer reading programs based on age for kids, teenagers and adults. Assistant director of the Upshur County Public Library, Beth Rogers, said library staff always try to do something special to pique kids’ interest the summer.
“In the past, we have always done a lot of different things,” Rogers said. “We just try something different all the time, trying to engage children and encourage them to come in here and keep reading during the summer.”
Rogers oversees the children’s category for the summer reading program, and she said kids can come in and sign up during regular library hours, if it is before June 27.
“When they sign up, we’ll give them instructions and a reading goal,” Rogers said. “The goal for the children’s group is to read 10 books a week or 50 pages from a chapter book.”
Rogers said the kids get to choose what they read, including books they already have at home, e-books, audiobooks or those they have checked out from the library. The children will be asked to write down what they read in their log and come in later in the week and show Rogers they have met their goal.
“Then, they will get a prize,” Rogers said. “We’ll have activities they can do, and they get a raffle ticket for the grand prize baskets that will be awarded at the end of the summer. If they participate, the program runs four-and-a-half weeks, so potentially they could get five raffle tickets and put them in various baskets.”
She said library staff wanted to ensure they awarded the kids for reading during the summer and will also do STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Each week the library will also follow a different theme, including I Spy, UFO Week, Astronauts/Rockets and Robots.
“We’ll decorate the library and will have a little area downstairs where we will hang mobiles up over the children’s books with the kids’ names that are participating from each school. For example, there’ll be a Tennerton mobile with all the kids and an Academy [mobile] and one for homeschoolers,” Rogers said. “You get a visual of how many kids are signed up just by walking in the door.”
UCPL Circulation Supervisor Bobbi Long said she wants to make sure children and teenagers know that you don’t grow out of the library.
“It’s about getting them to think of the library as a place that is for them,” Long said. “Many of them come with fond memories of children’s story time or summer reading when they were in elementary school.”
“But you don’t have to stop engaging with the library as you grow up,” she added. “In fact, we don’t want you to stop engaging with the library as you grow up.”
Long is the person in charge of the teen summer reading program, and she said they will also be given reading logs and goals.
“What we’re going to do is like the children’s program,” Long said. “They will get reading logs. What we’re asking them to do is to track 20 minutes a day, five days a week that they read and if you do that, record your reading, bring your log in to get checked, you get a raffle ticket to go in the prize drawings.”
Long said if they read and record all seven days of the week, they will receive an extra raffle ticket.
“Again, audiobooks would count, regular books would count, anything counts as long as you’re actively engaged with it for 20 minutes a day,” Long said.
She said the library will also offer the chance for participants to write book reviews and have those displayed in the library for a chance to earn more raffle tickets.
The adult program is being organized by library director Paul Norko.
“We like the theme because it’s very open,” Norko said. “ ‘A Universe of Stories’ pretty much can be anything, right? So, if you like mysteries, if you like science fiction, if you like romance, you can probably find something to fit into the theme.”
Adult program participants will take part in a game of book bingo. Each square will show a book suggestion and once the participant has read one of the books, they can mark that square on the bingo sheet. One raffle ticket is earned for a traditional bingo and an extra raffle ticket will be earned for a blackout card.
“The adult program is more about lifelong learning,” Norko said. “Even the at the other end of the spectrum, as you age, reading helps keep your mind active and engaged, and it really helps.”
The adult program will also give participants a chance to write book reviews, which will be posted on the library’s website or Facebook page.
Each program will have a grand prize drawing at the end of the program to award prizes.
For more detailed information or to sign up, stop by the library on Route 20 South in Tennerton or email firstname.lastname@example.org.