When schools close their doors for the summer, we at the public library open ours a little wider to welcome children to our locations all around the county (http://www.hcplc.org/locations). Our summer theme this year is “ Libraries Rock !,” and we’re celebrating music, reading and libraries all summer long with free reading incentive programs, classes and events.
Library summer reading programs are designed to keep children reading during summer vacation to prevent the dreaded “summer slide,” when students lose some achievement gains made during the previous school year over the summer. Studies show that reading just 20 minutes per day over the summer can keep kids from slipping, and that children are more likely to keep reading for pleasure if they choose what they want to read themselves.
This summer we’re encouraging children to read with our “You’re in the Band” backstage pass program. Children in grades K-12 can log reading hours online using Beanstack.com, a website that tracks reading time like a fitness tracker. They earn digital badges, and can visit the library to pick up rockin’ reading rewards along the way. At the end of the summer, if they meet the goal of 24 hours of reading, children in grades K-5 take home a free new book of their choice, and teens will be entered into a raffle for a gift card.
Need some great reads this summer? There’s something for every young reader in our print and digital collections. Even if your local branch doesn’t have exactly what your little reader wants, our staff can help you place holds to have that coveted “Wimpy Kid” or “Pete the Cat” delivered from another library location. Can’t make it to a library? Check out our eBooks! We have several ways to read and discover books and more online (http://www.hcplc.org/kids), and it’s all free with your library card.
Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries also offer free events and classes all summer long. Children are able to engage in educational and cultural learning opportunities for free, helping them maintain their intellectual growth and critical thinking skills while having fun and making summer memories. Kids can learn about robots in hands-on classes, watch live-action science demonstrations, create art, meet some birds or reptiles, or enjoy live children’s theatre. In keeping with our theme, we have plenty of music and music education classes including live children’s music, ukulele classes and drum circles to keep kids moving to the beat. Check our online calendar for events at a library near you (http://www.hcplc.org/events) or pick up a summer event guide in late May.
The library is a valuable resource in our community to help your child develop a positive relationship to reading, access experiences to further develop their sense of discovery and learning, and just have a great time when school is out. Visit us this summer and you’ll agree that libraries rock!