The Sammy Brown Library’s summer reading program “Tails and Tales” kicked off with a storytime Wednesday afternoon.

“All of our activities, our stories, our whole theme is based around animals,” Library Director Kim Turner said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun this summer. As usual, it’s for kids ages 3-10 that will read throughout the summer and win prizes and rewards for reading, for checking out books, for returning books and for the time that they spend reading throughout the summer. That’s our goal, is to get children reading throughout the summer to help maintain their literacy skills.”

Summer reading is the biggest program the library does each year, Turner said.

“In order for the library to be serving the community in the way that way we want to, we’ve got to reach the children so that they are reading and learning and growing throughout the summer,” she said.

The program runs through June and July, with activities on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday.

“Monday’s we’re going to do a come-and-go event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., like we did with our STEAM camp, where there will be little booths and activities set up where parents can come when it’s convenient for them, bring their kids and just go through each activity that we’ll have set up in the children’s area,” Turner said. “Wednesdays at 2 p.m. is a storytime, we’ll be reading a book, we’ll be learning about an animal, we’ll be doing an activity. Friday mornings at 10 a.m. is more centered around crafts and activities, but we’ll have a story then as well.”

There will be two major presenter events during the summer, both at the Panola County Expo Center so that there will be more room for people to spread out. The Creature Teacher will visit on June 16, and James Wand will present a Magic Show on July 21.

In July, the library is bringing back the American Girl Book Club for kids ages 8 to 12 on Mondays. Turner said they will be studying specific American Girls based on an historical period.

The 11- to 15-year-olds also have some special programs during the summer at the library.

“There’s a reading bingo card where they have to do certain reading activities and there are certain books on there that they read, and once they complete that, that is their ticket to a magic class that we’re going to have at the end of the July for them, so they earn their way into the magic class by filling out that bingo card,” Turner said. “We also have a virtual reality gaming day for them on June 8, and we’ve got a specific VR game that we’re going to be playing. They play it in groups, it’s very focused on communication, and it’s very much like an escape room type game, so we’ve got those activities for the 11- to 15-year-olds.”

Separate from the summer reading program, the library will also be visiting Green Acres Mobile Home Park on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and the Turner Community Center on Thursday mornings at 10 a.m.

“The library recognizes that not all kids have the availability of transportation to get to the library when we have programs scheduled... We want to be accessible to the kids that live in those neighborhoods, and we are partnering with the AgriLife Extension Office who will be talking about nutrition for kids, and we will be doing a storytime plus providing book bags for kids to take books to their home and have those for the summer,” Turner said. “We’ll be out there each week in June and July, so they’ll be getting books going through their house even if they can’t make it out to the library.”

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