Community Feature

Area Youth “Dive” into Books with Library Summer Reading Programs

June 6, 2022

Twin Valley News Article June 2022 Featured Image Glasco Library Summer Reading

It’s O-FISH-ally summer and a wonderful time to dive into great adventures! Adventures that could have you walking the plank, searching for treasure, exploring ocean life, and more because there are “Oceans of Possibilities” waiting when reading.

“Oceans of Possibilities” is this year’s theme that many libraries are using for their summer reading program. The program helps bridge the gap between the time school ends in May and starts again in fall for continued learning in a fun and exciting way. Summer reading programs help nurture life-long reading habits, motivate people of all ages to read for fun, and bring people together, encouraging interaction while providing an alternative summer activity.

In mid-May, together Twin Valley and SKT delivered 1,325 canvas bags and 63 packages of colorful markers to 17 libraries hosting reading programs and events this summer. Twin Valley chose to build on the “Oceans of Possibilities” theme, an idea from the Collaborative Summer Library Program used as a resource by many libraries, for the canvas bag design. The graphic features a jellyfish with a girl perched on top reading a book as well as a boy riding a seahorse. An angelfish as well as a hermit crab, clam shell, and other fish complete the design. Summer reading participants can add their own artistic touch using the markers to add color and even write their name or initials in the space provided – just another way to personalize their bags. The bags, which librarians and others alike were excited to receive, promise to be fun to color.

Area libraries offer various summer reading activities for ages ranging from preschool to adult. Not sure where the library is nearest you? You can pick up the perfect book or access online resources in Bennington, Chapman, Clay Center, Clifton, Clyde, Delphos, Glasco, Junction City, Leonardville, Minneapolis, Morganville, Olsburg, Riley, Solomon, and Wakefield. And though many of the summer reading activities began right after school ended, library directors and coordinators have echoed the same sentiment, “everyone is welcome” so find the library nearest to you and get hooked on reading. There really is something for everyone.

Randolph-Decker Library Coordinator Barb Bielser is anticipating approximately 100 participants. “We have numerous activities planned,” she shared. “Our first event was held in our city park and was called ‘Pirates Walk the Plank.’ With the bags we received, the children were able to carry their pirate hat, pirate eye patch, and an assortment of other items as well.”

Barb continued, “we have a total of eight events; therefore, the bags will be very useful to us over the two months with the children. They will be carrying books back and forth from the library to their homes, so the bags are going to be great for the kids, plus they will love coloring them!”

At the Glasco City Library, the response has been wonderful too according to library director Teresa Heidrick. “We’re a small library and the summer reading program has really taken off. To have community support has been amazing, and from a wide area outside of just our Glasco – Beloit, Concordia, and Simpson.”

Georgia & Olivia showing off their prizes at the Glasco City Library.

Teresa went on to add, “We have a large variety of people participating – kids from the summer school program and daycare, parents who hadn’t planned to attend are now interested, and children of all ages. We even have a family coming from Clay Center making it a “Glasco day” when they come over for the reading program.”

Support has come in the form of many donations for prizes ranging from restaurant and movie gift certificates to Tervis brand stainless-steel tumblers, even gift cards from Ackerman’s Grocery, the Glasco Community Recreation Center, and Glasco Locker Plant. Heidrick says there are “prizes for all ages” from pop-its in different ocean creature shapes (shark, turtle, crab, and fish) to bouncy balls with ocean creatures in them and even drawstring bags and craft items. Participants meeting their reading goals will have their names entered into a drawing for themed gift baskets containing the larger prizes along with other specially selected items.

It’s not just the prizes that kids and adults are excited about though.

“We love the bags and the children that have been in, love them as well,” Teresa said. “We usually have a large number of children sign up for summer reading. The bags will be wonderful to share with our children in the community plus they will love coloring them!”

“The kids are really excited about the tote bags and sharpies,” Teresa shared. “I even have some middle and high school students as well as adults wanting to participate because of the bags!”

Be sure to check out the library in your area or make it a day trip to one nearby for a summer reading program that you can dive into!