The first full week of summer vacation for local students meant the start of a summer tradition for many families – summer reading at the local library.
The York County Library kicked off its annual program this week and children’s and teen services manager Diane Williams said it is already off to a great start.
“We’re so excited about this year’s theme,” she said. “We’ve been looking forward to it for a long time.”
This year’s theme, which is used at thousands of libraries across the country, is “Fizz, Boom, Read,” so there’s an emphasis in all the programming on science, from the circus act “Spin Cycle Juggling,” that performed Wednesday to a “Mad Scientists Invention Convention” at the end of July.
There are different levels of programming for “Tiny Tots,” children, teens and adults. Each has its own requirements and prizes.
The littlest of readers and pre-readers, for instance, can get a rubber duck and a board book if they complete 20 reading activities. Children can get a medal and a puzzle ball toy. Readers of all ages can get coupons to area businesses and can be entered in a drawing to win grand prizes, such as $50 gift cards to iTunes or Books-A-Million, birthday parties at Kate’s Family Skate Center in Rock Hill and more.
What most people don’t realize about summer reading programs, Williams said, is how easy and accessible it is.
“They can register online and they can complete the whole program without ever even stepping inside the library, although of course, we’d love it if they came in,” Williams said.
All summer reading programs and prizes are free, except for T-shirts, which must be purchased.
The library is looking to improve on last summer’s record-breaking summer reading performance. More than 23,000 area children attended programming last summer and 111,776 materials were circulated in children’s print materials.
Summer reading runs through Aug. 1 and participants don’t even need to have a library card to register.
“We just want to see everyone reading,” Williams said.
Almost every minute of summer reading programming, from the prizes earned to the entertainers, is made possible by the Friends of the York County Library, Williams said. The state also provides some funding. Many of the prizes, such as gift certificates and coupons, are provided by area business sponsors.