Opening new worlds

Published 4:17 pm Monday, May 18, 2009

Libraries plan to truly come to life this summer, encouraging kids and adults alike to “Be Creative” at their libraries.

Frances Smith, youth services librarian at the Albert L. Scott Library would be active almost every day carrying out this theme. And while there are always a few reluctant readers, she said she hopes the programs encourage them.

“They might come to a show and get inspired to read a book about what they see,” Smith said. “Some kids do get in a rut. They might only read mystery books or sports books, but this could inspire them to read new things.”

All the local libraries want kids to discover new interests this summer.

“I really hope the kids discover something new and latch onto it,” Odom said. “Even if something like classical music isn’t their particular cup of tea, I want them to be able to see the value in it. The more exposure you have to things, the more you learn.”

Odom said Calera plans to focus on a different aspect of the humanities each day. She plans to bring in everything from Afro-Caribbean dancers to storytellers.

Smith hopes this will be especially true in Alabaster as well, with everyone from jugglers to jazz kazoo players expected to perform.

Each of the libraries plan to involve a variety of incentives for kids who read more and more through the summer.

Cecelia Dean, children’s librarian at the North Shelby Library, said one of the best incentives is learning.

“It gets them in the library in the first place,” Dean said. “And it keeps their minds working in the summer.”

Dean said multiple studies have shown kids need stimulation during the summer to keep them prepared for reentering school in the fall. The good news is kids don’t have to go far to find the stimulation needed.

“This is something they can do close to home and for free, and the programs are really for kids of all ages,” Smith said. “In fact, some of the parents say they enjoy the program as much as the kids.”

At the North Shelby Library, Michelyn Reid plans to get adults involved.

“We’re going to make it a little more challenging than years past,” Reid said. “Our theme this year is ‘Master the Art of Reading.’”

The library began an adult summer reading program five years ago. This year, adults must read three books in a genre of their choice and two books they normally wouldn’t read. They also have the opportunity to learn about things like knitting and photography.

All of these programs revolve around the idea of patrons using resources at the library in creative ways, Reid said. She said offering programs to all age groups reinforces the importance of lifelong learning.