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THE LIBRARY LOOKOUT COLUMN: Finding new ways to enjoy summer reading

Summer has begun. While this summer may look different than those in the past, the opportunities for excitement about reading that the library is offering our community have not changed.

Sara Hahn

With in-person school releasing early this year and families figuring out how to make virtual education work for them, virtual learning has become the “new norm,” and we invite your family to “Imagine Your [Virtual] Story” with our 2020 theme.

If you’ve participated in our Summer Reading Program in the past, you know that we love a packed schedule full of large groups, laughter and learning.

You may have come to one of our locations to paint rocks that glow in the dark, worked on rhythm with Music On Main or learned about recycling with the City of Albemarle. You might have identified animal tracks with a Morrow Mountain park ranger or learned how to milk a cow from the help of Chick-Fil-A.

You could have even created your own constellation with the Girl Scouts community specialist or seen those constellations become a virtual reality with a trip to the galaxies inside the Mobile StarLab that was hosted on-site last year by the State Library of North Carolina.

These library memories are our favorite part of summer, so it was important for us to find ways to make summer learning fun and engaging while we’re limited to a virtual environment this year.

To keep children and teens engaged, we have partnered with Sweet Frog Albemarle to let them read books that they choose and complete an activity sheet to earn a “One Free Cup” card to cash in for a sweet treat.

While we can’t host groups on our library campuses right now, we’re still able to stay connected through Facebook Live weekly story times which include every Wednesday at 10 a.m., and our Bouncing Babies Story Time every Thursday at 11 a.m. which is designed for the early literacy crowd.

Ages birth through 3 can complete 10 items on a June/July Early Literacy Activity calendar to earn their free cup while working on skills that include talking, writing, singing, counting, reading and playing. Ages 4 through 12 will complete their “Summer Reading Bookstack” which includes activities like “read under a tree,” “read a book about friendship” and “read in a blanket fort.”

Teens earn their frozen cup by completing bingo by reading books of their choice which include options such as “read a book with a one-word title” or a book that has been “made into a movie.”

If you thought all of the summer fun was just for kids, you’ll be thrilled to find that adults can earn a prize, too. Complete our Adult Summer Reading Bingo card to earn a colorful SCPL-branded tote bag while supplies last.

All events take place through the end of July at all locations and information is available on our website.

We’re excited to see you this summer while you visit your local library to check out materials and earn prizes. Also, remember that we are with you digitally as well, through our Libby app for ebooks, audiobooks and more.

Currently Reading: “In a Dark, Dark Wood” by Ruth Ware.

Picture Book Highlight: “Hair Love” by Matthew A. Cherry

Sara Hahn is the Children and Youth Services Librarian of the Stanly County Public Library in Albemarle. Contact her at shahn@stanlycountylibrary.org or 704-986-3758.