Library’s summer reading event under way

Published 4:42 pm Friday, June 11, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Now that school is out for summer, the Niles District Library's Summer Reading Program is offering another outlet to encourage reading.
The program, which kicked off this week, is being called Discover New Trails at Your Library and centers on the expeditions of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
There are many aspects to the program including a calendar that rewards kids with prizes for the amount of time they spend reading, storytimes nearly every day of the week, arts and crafts, special drawings and lots of other reading related activities.
Niles District Library children's librarian Darlene Jackson said the program is important because it encourages children to read in the summer months when they have no school.
Jackson said the purpose of the program is to make reading a fun experience for all of the children involved.
For storytime, which takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m., they try to transform the children's department into Camp River Dubois, the staging area for Lewis and Clark's expedition in Hartford, Ill.
Surrounded by artificial Christmas trees and stuffed animals like muskrats and ducks, Jackson lays some old fashioned throws on the ground in front of her log stool to prepare for Thursday's storytime.
For each of the eight weeks of the program, there will be a new theme. The first week centers on the general topic of Lewis and Clark and their accomplishments. Upcoming weeks will become more specific and focus on topics like Native Americans (mainly Sacajawea), animals and heroes.
To go along with the different topics of each week, the library will offer a new set of craft bags that contain various arts and crafts concerning the adventures of Lewis and Clark.
Another part of the summer program is the reading calendars that allow participants to reap rewards for the amount of time they spend with a book of their choice. The calenders are available to children, young adults and adults.
Jackson said this time can be completed at home, in another library or anywhere else, as long as they are reading.
Children will receive prizes like pencils, compasses and bracelets for each hour they spend reading; young adults will be rewarded with food coupons to places like Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen for every two hours that they read; and adults will be given a book for every five hours that they read.
After they reach a certain amount of time in a week, the participants will be given raffle tickets for reading beyond that point. The raffle tickets will go toward two drawings for special prizes that will take place throughout the summer months.
Even though the program has just gotten underway, Jackson said it has already made the adventures of Lewis and Clark a popular read.
On Thursday afternoon, there were only six of the more than 20 Lewis and Clark related books left in the library.