library fun for tots tweens & teens

by erin thursby
If you’re looking for something for your kids to do in the heat of summer, the library is a cool and free place for them to have fun.
“I don’t know if it’s the economy, but we’ve had a tremendous response to our summer programs,” says Keith Hayes, the Senior Librarian in the Children’s Department at the Main Library.
The Library has definitely expanded their programs for kids through age 18. Two or three years ago, most of their programs focused on preschoolers. While there are still lots and lots of preschool age activities and learning programs to choose from, there are now more programs available for other age groups.
School aged kids from can participate in the library’s art, reading and activities programs. For ages 12 and under, there’s the summer reading program, which encourages kids to read through tracking the amount they read and prizes.
Setting goals and benchmarks helps to keep kids reading during the summer, which Hayes believes is critical. “During the summer we encourage kids to keep reading…it’s a time for fun reading…it doesn’t have to be a classic, it can even be a graphic novel, which we have a large section of here.”
For every 30 minutes that the kids read they get to put a sticker on a time tracker table. As another incentive they get to add a “leaf” to a giant “reading tree.” For every 15 hours they read, they get a free book to keep. The 15 hour readers also get an entry into a drawing they have for random prizes.
The often overlooked tween group (ages 9-12) has something to do at the Main Library every Thursday afternoon at 2 pm. There are alternate themes each week: improv, journal making and fashioning art from recycled materials are just some of the activities for tweens.
Teens also get their own slice of the pie on Wednesdays at 3 pm through August 10th. Ages 12-18 are welcome to come design a graphic novel, work to save the river, learn Japanese paper crafting and more, depending on which Wednesday the teen attends.
There are multiple preschool and toddler story hours throughout the week, but not everything in the library is about sitting down to read. On Thursdays at the Main Library they have a toddler “Power Hour,” a music and movement program with live guitar and singing.
“We’ve really got something for everybody,” says Hayes.
While the Main Library offers plenty of options for a hot summer day, check in with your local branch to see what sort of programs they have for the summer. We’ve mentioned just some of the programs available. And, it’s not just for kids either. There are adult programs as well!
Check out the library’s website at http://jpl.coj.net/ for more and programs at your specific branch. You can also ask the librarian at the desk if they have a paper schedule for the month.

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