Kids reading program kicks off

Published 10:06 am Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just because school’s out for the summer, doesn’t mean you have to put your books down for three months. Picking up a good story and reading in the shade can be a great way to spend a hot afternoon.

This summer, the Austin Public Library is encouraging people of all ages to read with its 2009 Summer Reading Program.

The free program, which kicked off on Monday, is aimed at keeping people interested in reading through the summer months.

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For children preschool-through school-age, there is a 21-day reading challenge. Each day they need to read at least 20 minutes. They can read by themselves or with someone else. The reader will be able to pick a prize out of the “treasure chest” every seven days, and if they can read at least 20 minutes a day for 21 days, they receive a ribbon and coupons for the Mower County Fair.

Programs are scheduled through Aug. 14 to appeal to children of all ages. The events include: A visit from the Reptile and Amphibian Zoo, magic shows, puppet shows, sing-alongs and more.

“(The programs) are all really good, and we have some new ones this year,” said library assistant Anita Bruggeman.

Bruggeman is one of many library staff members and volunteers who has made the event possible.

The summer reading program is not just for children. There are three separate brackets, including: Children; young adult (ages 12 to 17); and adults (18 and above). There are prizes fit for everyone.

The program has been successful in the past, and organizers expect this year to be even better.

(All events begin at 1:30 p.m. at the library)

June 17 — Radzoo (Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Zoo)

June 24 — Nate Howard, “Creative Photography”

July 1 — “Mystifying Magic,” Greg Skillestad

July 8 — “Wild about Birds,” Al Batt

July 15 — Gator Alley, Shari Ellingson

July 22 — Sylvia Davis Sing Along

July 29 — “Pet Care and Responsibility,” Mower County Humane Society

Aug. 5 — “Creative Puppets,” Jim Jayes

“It has grown every year, and I’m looking forward to it doing even better this year,” Bruggeman said.

The Summer Reading Program has seen between 350 and 400 people each year, with 75 to 100 people attending each event.

Planning began as early as fall of 2008 with now retired Children’s Librarian, Maureen Steenblock, laying much of the ground work for this summer’s programs.

“She had many of the programs set up,” Bruggeman said. “She spent months getting it together.”

Sponsors for the program include: Friends of the Austin Public Library, the Mower County Fair, Culver’s Restaurant, Casey’s, A&W, Arby’s and Dairy Queen.

To be a part of the summer reading program, visit the Austin Public Library, sign up and pick up your summer reading packet. There is no deadline to sign up, but it is a 21-day challenge, so plan ahead.