Casandra Norin, children’s librarian at Liberal Memorial Library, reads to attentive toddlers at the 3- and 4-year-old storytime. Along with being read to, the toddlers also danced and made crafts during their storytime. These storytimes are a part of the summer reading program. L&T photo/Victoria Calderon
Memorial Library kicks off summer reading programs
By VICTORIA CALDERON
• Leader & Times
Liberal Memorial Library hosted its first events for the Summer Reading Program Wednesday and Thursday. The reading program is a free program geared towards kids and teens of all ages, and for the third year, has been adapted to include adults.
The themes for this year’s programs are Digging into Reading (children), Beneath the Surface (teens) and Groundbreaking Reads (adults).
The program consists of setting and reaching a reading goal, and attending fun events put on by library staff.
For Digging into Reading, Children’s Librarian Casandra Norin has prepared myriad activities for storytimes. Storytimes are geared toward different age groups: 0 to 2 years old, 3 to 4 years old, school grade 1 to 2, so on and so forth through 6th grade.
“For the kids,” Norin explained, “we have weekly storytimes. We do stories, songs, dancing, crafts, fun stuff like that.”
As for the teens, assistant director Paulina Poplawska is in charge of planning the events.
“We don’t have specific dates that we show up every week,” she said. “But rather, we have a calendar of events for kids to come in when they’re available.”
Children’s assistant Betheny Thompson talked a little bit about some of the activities the teens have the ability to participate in, since she is registered in the program.
“They’re really fun,” she said. “This year, we’re learning to play Dungeons and Dragons, and we’re getting to learn Zumba as well as yoga and Tai Chi.”
Both children and teens set a reading goal of so many hours they wish to complete by the end of the program. Rewards are available to them if they reach a minimum amount of hours.
“The minimum hours that we ask is 10, and that is to get the T-shirt. We do also have a high readers program,” Thompson said. “If you read over 35 hours, you get to go to an extra thing, which in the years past, we’ve gone to Grif Golf, the batting cages, the bowling alley and also (McCray) pool.”
The adult program, however, is run in a different manner. Instead of setting reading goals, the library decided to try something new this year: Literary Bingo.
“It’s a chance for everyone to try out a different genre of book that they might not have tried before,” Poplawska said. “We have a lot of people coming in saying, ‘I only read mysteries, I’m not signing up!’ But that’s the whole point, to try out something new.”
The way Literary Bingo works is fairly straightforward: if you get five squares filled in a line, whether horizontal, vertical or diagonal, you win. Each square has a particular book genre in it, and when you finish a book in that genre, you fill out the square. In this case, those who complete a line will get the chance to participate in a murder mystery at the end of the program.
Details for the murder mystery will be announced at a later date.
The library staff also discussed the benefits of summer reading to children and teens in the community. Providing educational fun for everyone is the main purpose and goal of the program.
“It’s a good way for the kids to get out during the summer and not be stuck at their house,” Thompson said. “If their friends in school are all in this, they can get together during this as well.”
“We want to show that reading is fun,” Poplawska added.
All three women agreed that Liberal Memorial Library’s summer reading program far surpassed those of other communities they have been involved in.
They hope this summer’s program will end with a bang.
“There might be a surprise at the end of the summer reading program via the fifth and sixth graders. Maybe involving smoke machines, cameras and strobe lights,” Norin said.