For librarians and book lovers of all ages, the next eight weeks are like Christmas, Easter and your birthday all rolled into one. That’s because it’s Summer Reading Program time, when you are rewarded for reading, and there’s always something cool to do at the library.
Here are the basics: beginning June 15 stop by any branch of the Cabarrus County Public Library to sign up and receive a reading log. Then all you have to do is read, or listen to a book being read to you. When you’ve met the reading goal – 10 to 15 hours for kids, 20 hours for teens, and five books for adults – you’ll be rewarded with a free book.
The book reward is something new this year, and library director Emery Ortiz says there is a wide variety of books available “The summer reading program is one of my favorite things about libraries,” Ortiz said, and she’s excited about the superhero theme for this year’s program.
Children will enjoy live music, plays, puppets, animals, stories and crafts that celebrate heroes. Teenagers can bust myths, learn about forensics, meet a comic book creator or attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse. Adults can upcycle old books, magazines and shirts, learn to belly dance, or do yoga. Each branch of the library will host all of these programs, but each has its own schedule of events, so check with your local branch to register and pick up a calendar.
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But each library branch also puts its own spin on the summer reading program. For example, in July, story time in Mount Pleasant will feature everyday heroes. Branch manager Jackie Mills has invited firefighters, a nurse, a policeman and a soldier to participate.
In Kannapolis, the library is partnering with the Cabarrus Health Alliance to offer STEM programs for teens. This summer they can, among other things, participate in a pottery class, do Q-tip artwork and make a speaker from a mints tin. While these programs are separate from summer reading, coordinator Christie Smith says the teens who come for STEM participate in summer reading and vice versa.
For families, the Kannapolis library offers Stories Under the Stars on Saturday nights. Branch manager Terry Prather invites folks to enjoy family-oriented entertainment and popcorn from the Gem Theater on the library’s patio.
Davey Beauchamp in Harrisburg is “very much a tech guy.” He’ll be teaching a class on podcasting this summer at the Harrisburg library, and starting a TED talks discussion group. This will be Beauchamp’s first summer in the Cabarrus County Library and he is excited about the Summer Reading Program. “I’ve been told it’s going to be crazy,” he said. “I can’t wait.”
Ortiz, Mills and Concord branch manager Kyle White are also preparing for their first Cabarrus County Summer Reading Program. It’s the highlight of our year, White said. “We’ve worked hard to create diverse programs and something for everyone.” And it’s the time of year when our libraries shine.
Marcia Morris is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marcia? Email her at EasternCabarrusWriter@gmail.com.
Summer Reading Program themes are Every Hero Has a Story for children, Unmask! for teens, and Escape the Ordinary for adults. For library hours or information, visit the Cabarrus County Public Library website: www.cabarruscounty.us/library.
Because programs rotate through each library branch, get a schedule of events from your local library.