Kids won’t just be sitting quietly and reading at Timberland Regional Library’s branches this summer.
There will be much more to do, thanks to the Be Creative at Your Library program for kids and Express Yourself at Your Library for teens, says Ellen Duffy, Timberland’s youth services coordinator.
Kids – even pre-readers – and teens can participate in programs in music, literature, drama and movement, writing, painting, sculpting and constructing.
Duffy said Timberland has a somewhat unusual take on summer at the library.
“Some more traditional libraries have a program where kids have to read a certain number of books,” she said. “We have a very diverse library district. We want all kids to feel successful at reading. For some, that might mean reading one book; for some, 100.”
Staff members work hard to offer good advice about books that kids will be excited to read, she added. “We’re looking for contagious enthusiasm about books and reading,” she said.
Timberland communications specialist Leanne Ingle said the teen program also is unusual.
Returning is the popular Teen Book Survivor, in which participants read from a list of 10 books. Starting June 22, they go online or turn in ballots at the library to vote two books off the virtual island each week.
Last year’s survivor was “Things Not Seen” by Andrew Clements, about a high school boy who wakes up one morning to find he’s invisible.
Duffy said teens also have pizza parties, ice cream socials, Wii gaming, book swaps, tie-dye T-shirt parties and even an overnight at various libraries.
For all ages, “Wacky Art Days” programs are new this summer.
Examples include learning the color wheel, painting with a variety of media and instruments, creating art in the styles of famous artists, building mobiles, making books, and constructing three-dimensional creatures.
Contests and art scavenger hunts also will keep libraries lively, and so will more live performances than last year.
Not new are the benefits of summer reading, and the opportunity to win prizes, from coupons to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Northwest Trek to goodies and activities donated by organizations and businesses.
Ingle said kids who read throughout the summer retain more skills going into the new school year.
“It’s well known through thousands of studies that children slip back in academic skills over the summer,” she said. “Kids who participate in the reading program add to their knowledge base and also don’t lose.”