As many prepare for summer vacations, librarians are preparing for their busiest time of the year.
Assistant Hall County Library Director Lisa MacKinney said the library system is holding programs throughout the summer to help keep kids reading while they are out of school.
“It’s so easy once school’s out to erase school from your mind,” MacKinney said. “We really just try to give them incentives to keep reading while school’s out. We also do some fun, yet still literacy-based activities to keep them interested in learning as well.”
From June 2 through July 23, the library system will hold summer reading programs for children and teens.
Kids can register June 2 for a reading log to keep track of the books they are reading and the number of hours they read each week.
This year, MacKinney said the library is broadening the reading log to count time spent listening to audio books, checking out books from the library and participating in library programs.
“They’re asked to keep track of literacy activities they do during the summer,” MacKinney said. “They bring their log back in every week and they get a prize from a local sponsor.”
MacKinney said prizes are a good incentive for kids to remember to read every week so they are mentally ready to return to school in August.
“Especially when you’re in your early years of reading, it’s so easy to kind of forget some of what you learned the year before,” MacKinney said. “They’re not only keeping their reading skills sharp, they’re also increasing their vocabulary and learning facts they may not realize they’re learning.”
For the third summer, Hall Area Transit and Gainesville City Schools are partnering with the library system to offer the popular Red Rabbit Reads program. Starting June 1, Gainesville students and a guardian can sign up for a free ride on Red Rabbit buses to the library all summer.
There are also a number of other nonreading activities this summer.
Children’s programs focus on preschool children up through elementary school students while the teen programs are geared toward middle and high school students.
“Even future readers can participate,” MacKinney said. “Kids who can not read independently are absolutely encouraged to participate.”
Each week, except the week of July 4, the various library branches will feature activities like magicians, puppeteers and story tellers for the children and henna tattoos and duct tape crafts for teens.
MacKinney said the programs have been very popular over the last few summers.
“Summer reading is our busiest time of the year by far,” MacKinney said. “We do by far more library card registrations and renewals in June than in any other month.”