For students, summer vacation is a relief. No classes. No homework.
But the learning shouldn’t stop. And the freedom that comes with extra time affords youngsters the opportunity to explore.
That’s the mission of local libraries’ summer reading programs. Get youngsters reading. It can be whatever they want to read, just keep them reading. It’s a good way to keep their minds sharp when school is not in session.
And adults aren’t left out. They can sign up, too.
“With summer break off, a lot of times you think about laying around and not doing anything educational,” said Erin Cataldi, adult and teen services librarian for the Clark Pleasant library. “This helps keep the mind going during the summer when you’re not at school.”
But the focus is more than school-related learning. Libraries want to make sure kids develop a love for reading that will last them their entire lives.
“Every kid has one book, and that one book will flip a switch in their head that goes from, ‘This is a chore’ to ‘I love reading, I want to keep going,’” said Annemarie Wallace, teen librarian for the Trafalgar library. “That’s always my quest, to find that one book for every kid.”
And for adults who have never been that interested in reading, it’s not too late to start a new hobby.
“We let them read whatever they want, and let them explore all of these different books,” said Sarah Taylor, manager at the Franklin library. “Since it’s all ages, they can do it with the family.”
The theme for the Edinburgh Wright Hageman Public Library summer reading program is “Scurry Up and Read.” Participants earn chances to win prizes every week when they visit the library and check out materials and programs.
The Johnson County Public Library’s theme is “Fizz Boom Read.” Special programs such a science-entertainment show, supervolcanoes and robots will build on the theme. By tracking minutes read, kids and adults earn prizes.
The Greenwood Public Library has built its summer program around the city’s 150th anniversary. A scavenger hunt will connect literacy with some of Greenwood’s most notable and hidden treasures. A contest called “Capture Greenwood” will encourage people to photograph their views of the city, with the best ones being included in the 150th anniversary exhibit at the library.
Adult, teen and child participants can all win prizes for the books they finish over the summer.
While reading is the central focus of this year’s summer programs, each activity also helps strengthen the sense of community around the library. People can interact with other like-minded residents and get to know subjects that they otherwise wouldn’t have time to check out.
Lazing the summer away has its appeal, but spending that time reading a book can make that time productive. So sign your children up for a summer reading program, and then sign yourself up, too.