Library kicks off summer reading program

Published 11:18 am Thursday, June 4, 2015

As summer kicks into full gear, the staff at Dowagiac District Library is looking to transform local kids into reading superheroes, doing battle against the dastardly forces of “brain drain” during their extended break from school.

Registration opens on Saturday for the library’s annual summer reading program, located in the children area on the second floor. Children who sign up will receive receive a free book, goody bag, reading log and other freebies.

Kids who sign up in the first week will also have the chance to win a family pack of tickets to an upcoming South Bend Cubs minor league baseball game, personally presented to them at the library by mascots Swoop and Stu.

As in previous years, the reading program allows kids to track the amount of time they spend over their summer vacations reading or having their parents read to them. For every 10 hours they log, the library will reward them with a surprise gift, said Director Matt Weston.

“Students of any age can participate,” Weston said. “The main goal is to keep them from having that brain drain over the summer, to keep them involved with reading.”

Kids who participate will be able to kick start their reading adventure with the free book of their choice, from the five crates of fiction and nonfiction works donated to the library by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. The books range from popular novels aimed at middle school students to ones about science or nature designed for younger kids, Weston said.

The program usually has a couple hundred local children participate every year, the director said.

The library also has a number of events lined up throughout the next few months designed for children. Starting on June 12, kids will have a chance to enjoy some outdoor fun like craft making and bubble blowing during the library’s new “Messy Time” activities, which will take place at 11 a.m. every Friday through July 31. Beginning on June 23, the library will bring in a mystery reader to host a special the library’s Tuesday storytimes, which take place at 10:30 a.m. in the children’s area.

“One thing we’re trying to do with the program this year is to get kids to come into the library more often,” Weston said. “While they’re here they can sign up for the reading program.”

In addition, Cubs mascots Swoop and Stu will give a special reading program to kids at 10 a.m. on June 13, during which they will award the winner of the ticket contest.

Other activities lined up for the summer include:

• A visit from local kid-favorite magician John Dudley, at 11 a.m. June 16.

• A speed stacking lesson at 1 p.m. on July 13.

• A presentation by members of Sarett Nature Center (with a live snake and other critters in tow), at 1:30 p.m. on July 23.

The library director encourages children and parents to come visit the library as often as possible this summer, even on days without activities lined up, he said.

“Just taking a book off the shelf and browsing it is a good way to keep your mind active,” Weston said.

People can visit the library, located downtown at 211 Commercial St., or call 782-3826 for more details.