By Adrianne Schinkai
Stephanie Willoughby, youth librarian at the Vicksburg District Library, has been working tirelessly on summer events. All that prepping leads to the library’s big event each year, the summer reading program. But Willoughby wanted to do something special this year. She began retooling very early.
Her mission? To include more things, besides books, that would interest participants, from infants to teenagers. The result is what she is calling Summer Adventure.
“I think a summer reading program should be more than just books,” says Willoughby. “Not all kids are interested in books. But that doesn’t mean that they stop learning or observing. They just learn differently. So I decided to try a new, different approach.”
To help keep up habits and knowledge learned during the school year, many public libraries across the United States offer summer reading programs to help combat what is known as the “summer slide.” The Vicksburg District Library has participated in this practice for many years. But Willoughby states, “I want to reach out to new participants, as well as returning ones.” How will she do this? By utilizing the program’s new tagline: “Read. Explore. Create.”
Summer Adventure, broken up into three age categories, includes opportunities for participants to get outside, discover new interests, get a bit messy, and, of course, read. For reluctant tween and teen readers and those who may not know exactly what to read this summer, the library is holding Book Tasting. This event will give readers a chance to sample new books and come up with their own reading lists. Participants will also have a chance to compare books to movies as films like How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse will be shown on the library’s big screen. Tweens and teens who love the outside will love the Painting on Big Paper event.
Popular programs from years past will be back as well. Last year’s Color Run event saw over 150 pastel painted participants. Another popular program, Nelson the Animal Guy, will be back this year with his collection of exotic creatures, big and small.
Prizes are still included for those participants who complete their various tasks.
Registration for Summer Adventure opens on June 1. Information is available at the Circulation Desk of the library and at the library’s website, http://www.vicksburglibrary.org.