Summer Reading Program begins in local libraries

Posted 29 June 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – Yates Community Library Director Emily Cebula shows off jellyfish that the youngest children made with bowls and streamers. The craft was oriented toward children that are pre-readers, which encourages them to have an adult read to them.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

LYNDONVILLE – “Fizz, Boom, Read!” is this year’s summer reading program theme. The stories and activities are all focused around science and experiments through reading and hands-on learning.

Yates Community Library starts their activities a little earlier than the other libraries of Orleans County.

“I found last year, we had a program the very first week after school let out, and I could not believe the number of kids that came,” said Emily Cebula, director of the library in Lyndonville. “They just seemed they were ready to jump from school to doing something at the library, so I wanted to take advantage of that.”

Yates Community Library has chosen to focus on very young children through age 12. Yates has about 30 children that sign up for the Reading Club. About 10 to 35 children show up for the activities each week as well.

The program offers children a weekly opportunity to visit the library for a fun activity to help them retain some of what they learned in school.

Cebula explained that the themes cover a large variety of topics, so there will always be something for every child.

“They have everything from weather related items to chemistry to animal science,” she said.

During the program, books will be set out that relate to the overall program and more closely to the day’s activities, such as animal books when the Buffalo Zoomobile comes to visit.

“This year is going to be a busy summer for me, so we are also going to make use of what our NIOGA library system offers,” Cebula said. “They have two summer interns that are college age, young ladies that are wonderful. They are there through the goodness of a grant from the Grigg-Lewis Foundation.”

The interns help run the summer reading program events. On Friday, they had organized a fake crime scene where the freebie items were stolen with their supervisor at NIOGA. The children had to use their powers of observation to try and figure out what happened to be able to create a sketch of what they think happened at the crime scene. The children then went on to learning about fingerprinting and the different shapes of fingerprints.

“Normally we would have a craft, but this is more science experiments and that kind of thing,” she said, talking about the hands-on learning the summer reading program provides.

The Collaborative Summer Library Program has paired with National Geographic Kids this year to create this program. The libraries are given a massive notebook of activity options that can be tailored to what they are able to offer. They also receive science kits associated with their chosen activities. The program also makes an effort to coincide with Common Core learning.

The kits at the Yates library will include thunder tubes, rain sticks, buzzing magnets, Newton’s cradles, electric energy balls, pressure mats, motors and much more.

Children that register for the Reading Club portion of program are given a folder that acts as a starter kit, which includes a bookmark, door hanger, stickers, sticker chart, and a list of events.

“We have many grandparents and dads that like to come,” said Cebula. She was impressed at the number of parents that were excited to get their children participating.

“I also want kids to know that there’s another group of adults in their community that cares about them and makes sure they’re getting what they need in here and makes sure they’re safe and welcome,” she said. “All four of our staff members are very good at that. All of the children that come feel very welcome.”

Patrons of the local libraries can also take advantage of the NIOGA network to request books available at different library. This allows patrons take advantage of the 17,000 books available at the Yates library or to access books in any other Niagara, Orleans or Genesee county library.

The programs offered are free, however, some require registration due to limited space. The activities vary by library and most run into mid-August. Some libraries in the area will be offering activities for teens. For a list of activities, check with your local library.