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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Rivah Reading: Libraries offer fun and learning


by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

A good book completes a vacation. 

So, it’s only fitting summertime includes the reading of a pile of good books. 

While adults enjoy languishing poolside, on the beach or boat with a romance or mystery, children are harder to get to sit still long enough to read, especially while the cool, blue pool water or the lapping waves are calling. And that’s probably why the summer reading program was created.

Library summer reading programs offer children a fun way to continue reading and learning even when the school year is over. Most schools encourage and even reward students for reading over the summer in library programs. 

And grandparents looking for ways to keep the grandchildren busy with fun but educational activities can find plenty of them at local libraries. 

The programs are for non-readers and readers alike. Some programs, like the one in Lancaster County, even offer storytime for children as young as three months old. 

So grab a good book and let the fun begin!

Children crowded into the Lancaster Community Library’s meeting room for a magic show. This year’s summer reading program at both the Lancaster and Northumberland public libraries features the magic of Mike Klee.

Lancaster Community Library
Children’s librarian Tonya Carter has partnered with Belle Isle State Park, The Foundation for Historic Christ Church and the Virginia Cooperative Extension (4-H) to take the summer reading program and learning outside of the library. 

This year’s program “Dream Big, Read” begins for students ages 3 to 17 on June 11 and continues through late August. An awards ceremony with storyteller Lynn Ruehlmann will be held August 1 although 4-H offers two programs after that.

“We want to instill in our young patrons to be lifelong readers,” said Carter. “And we know that children who participate in summer reading programs return to school ready to learn. It helps improve their reading skills and reading achievement scores and it may increase their enjoyment of reading and builds up their confidence.” 

The summer reading program has been held at LCL in some form for over 20 years and last year over 500 children ages 3-17 participated with 12 youths over the age of 11 donating 217 hours as youth volunteers, according to Carter.

Over 200 books were given away. Some 584 children participated in seven storytime programs, while 1,502 people participated in 13 family programs and 123 participated in three teen programs.

On the schedule for this summer are the weekly storytimes for children two years and over and the weekly Babygartens for infants three months to 2 years old. Twelve programs will be held at Belle Isle State Park including several storytimes and “If you lived during the Civil War” and “If you were a Mortacund Indian” programs.

Historic Christ Church will be the site for “Second Saturday” Ice Cream Socials and Hands-On History Day.

Guest performers include magician Mike Klee, musician and puppeteer Ginger Inabinet and Ty-Rone’s World with music and ventriloquism.

Lancaster Community Library is located at 235 School Street in Kilmarnock. For more information or to register, contact Carter at 435-1729.

Northumberland Pubic Library
Children will “Bee A Reader” this summer with the help of weekly programs from mid-June through July 31. 

Children’s librarian Nancy Webster hopes to have the place buzzing with busy readers. The “Bee A Reader”-themed program kicks off Monday, June 18 with magician Mike Klee. 

This year’s program includes “beekeepers, magicians and music” said Webster, who has a program on-site at the library scheduled once a week. 

Dozens of girls and their mothers enjoyed an American Girl Tea Party at the Lancaster Community Library. The party is one of the most popular events during the summer reading program.

Participants are encouraged to read, read, read the rest of the week, said Webster. The Northumberland library works in cooperation with the county’s middle and elementary schools to offer incentives and prizes for summer reading.  

“The students have a reading passport that they bring in each time they come and a reading log,” said Webster. The information is then provided to the schools at the start of the school year. Students also get a prize if they attend a program. 

This year’s programs include visits by the Northern Neck Beekeepers, storyteller Bess Haile, musical entertainment by Ginger Inabinet and musicians C. Shells, who’ll be singing about bugs, bees and other silly stuff. The programs conclude with Gary Lloyd presenting his program BEE All You Can BEE. 

Webster will also have a program on touching and seeing the natural history of early Virginia. 

Although the schools play a cooperative role, the summer reading program is not limited to Northumberland County students. Children visiting the area are encouraged to participate.

“We have a lot of grandparents that come every year with their grandchildren,” said Webster.

The program has been in place for all of the eight years Webster has been at the library with “well over 100 participants” each year, she said. Between 40 and 60 children attend the programs, which always begin at 10:30 a.m. Early registration is recommended for most of the programs, said Webster. 

Northumberland Public Library is located at 7204 Northumberland Highway in Heathsville. For more information about the library’s reading program, call 580-5051.

Middlesex County Public Library
Youth Services Coordinator Mary Ann McKay is always preparing a fun-filled “Dream Big, Read” program which begins on June 26 and ends August 3.

At both the Deltaville and Urbanna branches, there will be story hour three days a week for children from two-and-half years old through rising fifth graders. The story hour includes crafts, music and games.

Story hour themes include Dreams, Night Night, Night Owls and Other Animals, Night Adventures, Night Shivers and Wishes.

The program goes on the road to the Hartfield YMCA on most Fridays and one Monday when professional performers will entertain and motivate participants, said McKay.

Ty-Rone the ventriloquist is the first performer of the season on June 29, followed by magician Rob Westcott on July 6. Puppeteer Fischer Sundae performs on July 13 and magician Mike Klee wows audiences on July 20. On July 23, storyteller Ginger Inabinet will incorporate music and puppets into her act and on August 3 Barefoot Puppets perform.

In 2011, some 24 two-and-half year olds, 28 kindergarteners and first graders and 27 second through fifth graders participated in the program, said McKay.

“The younger groups read a whopping 2,206 books and older participants logged a total of 67 hours of reading,” she said. “We hope that even more children will participate this year. We’re looking forward to a summer of dreaming big!”

The grand finale program will be August 8 at the Deltaville Library where participants will receive certificates and prizes.

Contact the library for more information on the story hour locations and times, which alternate between the Urbanna and Deltaville locations.

The Urbanna branch is located at 150 Grace Street and the Deltaville branch is located at 35 Lovers Lane. For more information or to register, call the Middlesex County libraries at either 758-5717 or 776-7362 or visit the website.

Crafts are part of the weekly activities at the Mathews Memorial Library’s summer reading program.

Mathews Memorial Library
Youngsters enrolled in Mathews Memorial Library’s summer reading program will embark on a month-long discovery process. The program’s theme “Taking a Closer Look, An Archaeological Adventure” focuses on the fun and information found by “digging in the dirt,” said Library Director Bette Dillehay.

The library takes a different approach from many others in the area in that the program is only one month long and there are activities four days a week, according to Missy Bauby, head of youth services. Children can participate in just one week’s activities or attend for the whole month.

“Each week we have a different focus,” said Bauby.

The program runs from July 10 through August 3 with activities Tuesday through Friday each week.

“Lemonade Lectures” will be held every Tuesday and Fridays are “Discovery Days.” Discovery Days will lead the children to a number of places which hold secrets from the past, said Dillehay. Tour guides will be archaeologists who are familiar with the mysteries of Tenochtitlan, the secrets of Jamestown and the underwater discovery of the battleship, Monitor.

In addition, each Thursday will offer children an opportunity to make crafts and participate in activities related to archaeology.

Wednesdays are reserved for “Tales to be Told” for preschoolers through kindergarten.

Scheduled activities are held each day from 10 a.m. to noon and lemonade and cookies are served, except when a field trip requires lunch.

Registration is required. 

“We have quite a few grandparents who, if they have grandchildren coming, really enjoy the program,” said Bauby. “We have had some from Texas and North Carolina.”

Along with the July reading program, the library continues to offer its story time for children ages 18 months to five years old on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. in June and August.

Mathews Memorial Library is located at 251 Main Street in Mathews Courthouse.

For more information or to register, call the library at 725-5747.

posted 05.31.2012

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