By Jennifer Adams, Children’s Services Manager
It is summer break, and the kids here are reading maniacs! In June, more than 30,000 children’s books and audiobooks were checked out from the library. So far, 2,000 children have registered for the library’s summer reading program and read more than 600,000 minutes. They are earning cool prizes to keep them motivated, including squirt toys, magnifying glasses, free books, and a wide choice of free food coupons or free kids’ day passes to the zoo and Discovery Center. The last day to collect prizes is July 31, and it is not too late to get your children signed up and include all the reading they have been doing since June 1st.
Amidst the kids checking out books and getting their prizes, you may have noticed construction crews on the grounds, up on the roof, and in and out of the building. The Children’s Room is shrinking while this phase of the construction project proceeds with renovations inside the current space, and with connecting the room to new spaces on both the north and south ends of the Children’s Room. This will double the size of the space when the project is completed at the end of this year.
Luckily, we are able to keep all our children’s materials available to the public, but space is getting more and more crowded for children’s events. Children’s librarians will be doing some fun programs out and about the community during this phase. Ms. Amber is leading weekly storytimes at Bluestem Bistro. Meet on the patio on Wednesday mornings at 10:00 during the month of July to hear fun stories, rhymes and songs about colors. This week’s theme is “blue” featuring Deborah Freedman’s Blue Chicken. What happens when an energetic chicken stumbles off the page and into a pot of blue paint? Join us on the patio to find out.
On July 24, get rowdy with us at the Flint Hills Discovery Center for our annual Rodeo Readin’ Roundup, in conjunction with the Kaw Valley Rodeo and the Discovery Center’s celebration of National Day of the Cowboy. Tickets to the Discovery Center are not required to attend this event, which will be held in the little theater on the first floor. At 9:30, local “Cowboy Poet” Ron Wilson will start us off with some yee-haws, and then we will hear from bullfighter Andy North, a middle school principal from Oklahoma who loves to talk to kids and always reads his favorite book, Those Can-Do Pigs by David McPhail. Rodeo clown Rick Young will show kids what it is like to be a barrelman. He calls himself the Agin’ Cajun and has worked as a bullfighter and rodeo clown in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association for nearly 50 years. Children who attend the 9:30 program will get a free ticket to the Kaw Valley Rodeo, which takes place at the fairgrounds on July 24, 25 and 26 (kawvalleyrodeo.com). Afterwards, our rodeo guests will sign autographs for kids in the Discovery Center atrium.
The next day is the library’s monthly Zoofari Tails Storytime, which will take place at Sunset Zoo’s Chautauqua Amphitheater on July 25 at 10:00. Zoofari Tails is a fun animal-themed storytime led by zoo docents and children’s librarians. July’s theme is “red, white and blue animals” and will include some favorite books: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? and The Little Red Hen. Feel free to bring a blanket or chairs to sit closer to the stage. After storytime, zoo staff will show animal biofacts, such as furs and feathers that children can touch, and they will lead a short tour featuring some of the zoo’s colorful critters. Claflin Books & Copies provides a free book each month for our book drawing, and children can also receive a punch card to be entered into a December drawing for a free one-year zoo membership. Families attending the 10:00 Zoofari program do not need to pay zoo admittance.
Thanks to great community support from places like the Bistro, Discovery Center and zoo, we can continue providing library programs all around town!