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Summer 2021

Originally published in the Ketchikan Daily News, May 2021; written by Amie Toepfer.

It’s that time a year again, when the scents of the season are liberally filling the staff work room, librarians are rushing around trying to make everything perfect, the final touches are being added to the decorations, and we are working to make sure all of the special events are ready to be enjoyed by you.

Now, you might be scratching your head and thinking that this article must have been published by mistake because, clearly, it isn’t Christmas! That is not the season to which I am referring. Instead, I am speaking of Summer with Your Library, AKA the summer reading program, which is every children’s library staff person’s favorite season (truly).

Summer with Your Library is our annual summer program from families. It is fun and interactive and gets families exploring, learning, and growing. Over the last several years, libraries have moved away from what many of us remember as summer reading. You know, that program that had kids track the minutes/books they read over the summer in order to earn a free prize, normally a Scholastic paperback book at the end. While this program was good and helped to prevent the “summer slide” (more on this in a moment), it didn’t embody what libraries actually do --- so a change was made. Goodbye, tired old minute tracking logs. Hello, challenge sheets!

Challenge sheets embrace what the library is to the community, which is a community hub, a place to come to learn and explore new things. This year’s challenge sheets are some of the best that I’ve seen in a long time! They are packed with different activities that promote lifelong learning, exploration, and growth. Kids have the opportunity to earn a free book, collectable stickers, and entries into our grand prize drawing for one of eight amazing prize baskets!

Better yet, there is a log for EVERY child, no matter their age or abilities. This year’s program was designed with flexibility in mind. Is the reader log just a bit too challenging? Try the beginning reader log! Have a baby? Grab our lapsit log! Can’t make it in? Sign up and participate online using the Beanstack app! Have a child that really doesn’t like reading and it’s a struggle to get them to sit down and read? That’s okay --- our logs are packed with enough activities that they, too, can earn a prize without you having to fight with them about reading, because let’s face it; that never works.

The one thing that remains the same about this year’s program is that it helps to prevent the summer slide, which is the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer vacation. Each log is designed to challenge kids to learn and grow in fun and interactive ways. For example, one of the challenges on the reader log is to visit with an elder, which promotes oral histories and is vital for cultural knowledge. Another challenge is to create art! Art is amazing in its multifaceted ability to teach skills to children that helps them grow and develop. Psst! Art in many instances helps to develop math skills.

Summer with Your Library starts June 1 and runs through July 31. Logs will be available for pick-up starting June 1st, but for some added fun stop by the library on June 4, National Donut day, between the hours of 2:00-4:00 p.m. to get your log, see the prize baskets, and get a special treat!

Another added element of fun this summer is our weekly Wonder Bag, which will be available, while supplies last, every Wednesday. These bags are designed to promote learning and growth, but are just flat out fun for the whole family! All I am going to say about these bags is SLIME, LOST LAGOONS, & DRAGONS! For more information call the library at 907-225-3331.

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