Paul Sawyier Public Library

Visitors explore the larger Lillian Lindsey Book Store last year in this State Journal file photo.

Readers of all ages can participate in Paul Sawyier Public Library's Summer Reading Program starting this Thursday. 

The library's annual summer reading program will run through July 26 and is open to kids, teens and adults. The program's theme this year is "A Universe of Stories." Each age group has different activities and different possible prizes to win at the end of the summer. To register, library patrons can go online to pspl.org or visit the library in person. 

Youth Service Coordinator Erinn Conness oversees the summer reading program for young children and teenagers. She said summer reading is important for youth because by consistently reading during the summer, kids are challenging themselves and exercising their minds.

Conness said that some studies have shown that kids lose part of what they learn in school during the summer, but if they read, they might not have to review as much when they return to school in the fall. Conness said the Summer Reading Program also gives students a chance to choose what they read and not have to read something for an assignment. 

"That type of reading creates an adult who loves to learn throughout their lives," Conness said. 

For children in fifth grade or younger, the library encourages them to read at least 21 days during the reading program. Each time kids go to the library, they get a bead to put on a reading chain, or if they are very young and beads could be a choking hazard, a sticker to put in a sticker book. After 21 books, this age group can get a prize and be entered to win a grand prize of a $50 gift card.

Teens have a list of activities, such as reading a book, attending a library event or writing a book review, to choose from and they must complete three of those in order to get a tumbler and be entered to win a grand prize, which will be a gift card, Conness said.  

Conness said that everything is free in the program and that the Friends of the Paul Sawyier Public Library financially support the summer reading program. 

Adults are also not left out of activities at the library. Community Service Librarian Diane Dehoney said that events for adults this summer include book discussion groups, making crafts, a concert and more.

One highlighted event is "An Evening with Silas House," which PSPL is hosting with Poor Richard's Books. The "Southernmost" author will be at the library on Tuesday, June 11, at 6 p.m. while he is on tour to promote the paperback release of the novel. A full list of events for every age group can be found in the PSPL magazine or online at pspl.org

Dehoney said if adults are already reading this summer, while at home or on vacation, logging their books could bring them an extra reward. For every three books adults read and log online, they get one entry into a drawing for a $100 Kroger gift card. 

"One of our missions here at the library is to just promote lifelong learning," Dehoney said. "You don't have to be a kid; you don't have to be any certain age to keep on learning. We encourage anybody to come in and pick up something that interests them."

Jaci West, the library's adult services manager, said books don't have to be the traditional physical books to count in the Summer Reading Program. Audiobooks and e-books count as well. West said many library patrons listen to books while commuting to work. 

As for what to read this summer, Conness suggested two books for the younger crowd, both in the theme of "A Universe of Stories." Brad Meltzer's "I am Neil Armstrong" is a biography of the astronaut told in a "comic book way," Conness said. "Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth" by Frank Cottrell Boyce is about a young boy in a foster home who befriends an alien that appears as a dog to everyone else. 

For adults, the library will host a book discussion for "Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life" by Mary Roach on July 25 at 6:30 p.m. Dehoney said the book is nonfiction and entertaining and that readers always learn something new from Roach's books. West recommended House's "Southernmost," as it recently released in paperback.

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