The Sammy Brown Library’s summer reading program looked a little different this year, but Library Director Kim Turner said they still accomplished their main goals for the program.
“We had about a third of the participants that we usually do, but we were happy to be able to do as much as we could during a pandemic,” Turner said. “Kids were still reading; kids were still checking out books. Kids were still filling in their reading log, and so those are our main goals for summer reading, and so we accomplished that, just not on quite as large a scale as we normally do.”
A big change this year was having to cut back on their programming activities.
“We had a fabulous program in 2019, and we had a good routine where kids were coming in regularly to do crafts and to do activities and learning activities and that sort of thing, and we just couldn’t accomplish that this year; we couldn’t accommodate that,” Turner said. “We had to cancel all of our summer reading performers where we normally get 50 to 100 kids, all in the children’s section, seeing people do magic and talking about how wonderful the library is or they bring wild animals — we had to cut all of that out because we just don’t have the space for it. So that was very different for us.”
Kids gathered Wednesday, sitting with their family groups in designated squares, for the final storytime of the season Wednesday, getting to listen to Children’s Coordinator Tanya Millican read the story of Alice in Wonderland while dressed in a rabbit costume to imitate the rabbit which Alice follows into wonderland in the story.
“Today is kind of just a celebration of the end of summer reading, but our storytime today, we feel like with social distancing with a small group, kids will be fine, and we are rewarding kids who have turned in their reading logs for the summer,” Turner said Wednesday. “Any child that turns in a reading log has logged like 12 and a half hours of reading, and so we wanted to reward them for that, so we have gift cards that we’re giving away today for those kids. Plus it’s free books day today for the kids, so we’ve got the free books out on the table that they can pick one of those up and take it with them, which is another reward too, just in case they didn’t quite finish their reading log.”
During the month of June, the library offered storytime every weekday in order to keep groups down to four to seven kids. In July, they did storytime twice a week with no more than 10 at a time, providing take-home activities in place of the regular in-library craft.
Another program the Sammy Brown Library did this summer was a six-week program for girls aged 7-10 based on the American Girl books. Nancy Langford ran the program.
“We introduced different American Girl dolls, which were all based on different time periods, and the girls would learn a little bit about what girls in that period would do, the games they would play, the items that they might use,” Turner said. “They had a period where they learned to use quill pens, and they made little hats to go with it. So then they also learned about different character strengths—courage and patience and bravery and things like that.”
Turner said they are now gearing up for back to school.
“We’ll be offering a number of different digital tools for people who are choosing either to do virtual learning or choosing to homeschool, or if parents just want additional options for learning for their children,” she said.