2014-06-27 / Community

Library Links

Summer reading: more than just reading
By Kevin Davis

In the Library Links column a few weeks back, I gave a general overview of the library’s various summer reading programs, which are now underway. Kim, our children’s librarian, wanted to elaborate more on some of the special events that happen here at the library during summer months as part of the children’s and teen summer reading programs. In the sprit of providing our wonderful youth services staff an opportunity to talk about what they’re doing to make summer reading more exciting – and to give myself a week off from having to write a column – I’ve turned this week’s Library Links over to her . . .

The South Portland Public Library’s Children’s Summer Reading Program, “Fizz, Boom, Read,” is in full swing. We have had lots of sign-ups already and children have been eager to earn prizes and have fun. This 10-week program is a wonderful time to begin to learn to read, practice reading or to just snuggle up and read as a family. With the large collection of books at the library, you will never be without something new to read and explore.

Remember, though, that the library and our summer reading programs are not just about learning through books – our many special events also offer opportunities to learn and – more importantly – to have fun. This summer, our lineup of special guests include return visits from past library favorites, Mr. & Mrs. Fish and Mad Science of Maine.

Many of you in the South Portland community are probably very familiar with the names Mr. & Mrs. Fish. Not only have they come to the library to entertain and educate us for several years, they have an amazing summer camp – Fish Camp – right here in South Portland. Their programs are well-loved by the many children who have attended and when Mr. & Mrs. Fish make a return visit their local library, it is always a popular affair. I’ve never known a more fun and funny way to learn about the ocean and all of its wonders than by watching Mr. & Mrs. Fish perform. Along with their amazing knowledge of all things marine, they bring to their audience silly costumes and an interactive show that will keep you in stitches while sparking a curiosity to learn more about the ocean right here in your own neighborhood. This dynamic duo will perform and educate us all at the main library at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 10. This is a program for all ages, so bring the whole family.

A lot of you may also know about Mad Science of Maine, also based right here in South Portland. With this year’s summer reading theme, you can’t go wrong with them. They offer many programs for children, including after school programs, vacation camps and parties. To go along with this year’s theme, Mad Science is offering a “Fizz, Pop, Boom” library program that will focus on chemistry. Flasks, test tubes and flames will be part of this jaw dropping show. Audience members will be in awe of the experiments happening right before their eyes. Join us at the Main Library at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 29 for an educational program for all you scientists out there.

Our summer reading program is also a time to learn and create new things by attending one of the library’s in-house programs. Our story times for children aged birth to 5 years continue throughout the summer. As a special treat, as long as the weather cooperates, our story times are outside on the lawn under the trees. We provide blankets, great stories and fun, but bring along your sunscreen, hats and water to make things even more comfortable. This is a great time to come together as a family with your youngest ones and bond with stories. And, as a bonus, story time attendance counts toward children’s summer reading goals.

The library’s new Teen Summer Reading Program, “Spark a Reaction!” will include many activities for middle and high schoolaged readers to participate in. Teen Crafternoon begins in late June and also meets in July and August. From geometric paintings to sun printing to decorating your own library tote, teens are able to let their creativity soar. No skills are necessary and the library provides all supplies. Our teen book group, Page Turners, will continue to meet throughout the summer and as a bonus, in July, participants of Page Turners will get to make their own Post Secrets. Come find out what this is all about.

There are several other programs in the works for this summer, including many programs for adults, so keep a lookout by visiting us at the library often, checking out our Facebook page and by visiting our website, SouthPortlandLibrary.com, for the latest updates to our schedule.

As always, a hearty thank you goes out to the Friends of the South Portland Public Library for their continuous support of all of the library programs we offer throughout the year – we could not do it without them. Happy summer and happy reading.

Kevin Davis is director of South Portland Public Library.

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