Officials at the Mabel C. Fry Pubic Library said they checked out more 769 books and other items on Tuesday, many of them to first time customers. It was the result of the kickoff of the library’s summer reading program.
Sara Schieman, the city’s librarian, said more than 800 children and their parents made their way through the library during the three-hour event that included a variety of activities for children.
The events ranged from face-painting to Batman making balloon animals to computer games and Lego Twister.
For some of the children, it was an opportunity to cut out projects and do a little hands-on learning while having fun.
Schieman said it was her 18th kickoff event, and each year continues to be better than the previous one.
This year’s event was held indoors because of recent rains, but often they are held outdoors.
Officials at the library said more than 90 new library cards have been issued since June 1, and more than 130 memberships were renewed.
Schieman said the reading program will continue through July 31.
There are three levels ranging from newborn to teens.
The idea, Schieman said, is to get children excited about books.
“It’s amazing when they have freedom to read over the summer and can pick what they want to read. So many of these kids are veracious readers,” she said.
Schieman said often children have other obligations during the school year, from sports to church activities. But during the summer, they have extra time and that is the perfect time to lose yourself in a book.
“So many things (activities) take off in the summer and they are free to read. They will walk out with a pile of books and read and read. That warms my heart,” she said.
And it is not just girls. She said that while boys may not lean toward fiction material, they do focus on things like books on “Star Wars,” “Mindcraft” and “Legos.”
One of Tuesday’s participants left with a book on the periodic table of elements, she said.
“He wants to learn about chemistry over the summer,” she said.
The librarian also said a number of local daycares also participate in the program, which is good news.
“We want the daycares to come. I hate the fact that because parents have to work, a lot of kids miss out on the opportunity to participate,” she said. “We are glad the daycares try to come.”
The summer reading program not only allows the participants to become engrossed in a good book, they benefit from it and can win prizes.
Some participants read so they can fill out their reading log for an opportunity to win prizes. Others read just for the fun of it.
“We want to have something for all of them. We encourage them to read whatever they want to read over the summer,” she said.
This year’s theme is “Build a Better World.”
“These are successful programs. We do incentivize for the kids to read,” she said.
Many of those incentives are donated by local businesses, which Schieman called generous.
“Yukon is incredibly generous. It’s a pretty good community to us.”
Schieman said libraries have changed over the years … from having ebooks to computers to gaming information.
“We want them to come and read and enjoy this place. Libraries aren’t like they used to be. They aren’t shushy and quiet places,” she said. “We just want them to be here and like it.”
Build a Better World
Baby Story Fun:
Newborns to 1 ½ years – Mondays, 10 to 10:20 a.m.
1 ½ years to 3 years: Mondays, 10:40 to 11 a.m.
Newborns to 3: Wednesdays, 10:40 to 11 a.m.
Mondays: 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Wednesdays: 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Elementary Summer Program
Tuesdays: 1 to 2 p.m, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Young Adult Readers
Thursdays: to 2:30 p.m., 3 to 4:30 p.m.