CHENANGO COUNTY — The Afton Free Library and Bainbridge Free Library are gearing up for a summer of education and reading fun with their kids' Summer Reading Programs.
The free, themed programs are held each year and feature things like reading incentives, games, story times, guest speakers, crafts, and more. This year's theme is Oceans of Possibilities.
"The Collaborative State Library Program puts out the themes for libraries to use for their summer programs, and there’s materials and ideas that all come out in a manual. So that’s where we grabbed the theme and some ideas from," explained Bainbridge Free Library Director and Afton Free Library Youth Services Coordinator Michelle Arnold. "It’s really helpful, especially for smaller libraries. There’s ideas in there all put together and book suggestions, and all kinds of things, activity ideas."
Both libraries will be doing a "Read and Bead" program, where participating kids will receive reading logs and earn beads for time spent reading. After collecting their beads throughout the month of July, kids can use their beads to make a chain necklace or a keychain.
"We’re both doing a ‘Read and Bead,’ and the kids seem to like that. Erin is my Youth Services person here, and last year was our first year that she wanted to try the Read and Bead. So we tried it and kids loved it, so we’re bringing that back," said Arnold.
"They get a reading log and stickers and they’ll put one sticker for every 15 minutes that they read," she continued. "So one sticker equals a solid color bead, we go up to two stickers a letter bead, four stickers a shape bead, and eight stickers a reading badge, which our summer reading theme this summer is Oceans of Possibilities, so the reading badge has little ocean themed characters on them."
The Bainbridge Free Library will be hosting Read and Bead registration on Wednesday, July 6, as well as Story Time from 10:30 to 11 a.m. followed by "Kids’ Crafternoons." The events will be held every Wednesday from July 6 through August 3, as well as an all day Kids’ Crafternoon every Thursday.
"We have ‘Kids’ Crafternoons’ following story time Wednesdays, and then also Thursdays, where the kids can come in. We're just going to have art supplies out, like a fun little art table. We’ll have different supplies each week and they can make whatever they want," said Arnold. "I think what we're planning to do is just have them set up on Wednesday for after Story Time, and then we’re just going to kind of leave it set up so people that are busy, they can just drop in."
Registration for Read and Bead at the Afton Free Library is on Thursday, July 7 at 2:30 p.m., followed by an Oceans of Possibility program at 3 p.m. with a 4-H Educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension.
"We have a great person, Erica, that comes from Cornell Cooperative Extension. She comes throughout the year for our homeschooler program for us," said Arnold. "On July 7 she’s going to do a special summer program with the Susquehanna River. The Susquehanna River empties into Chesapeake Bay and into the ocean, so we’re tying it into our Oceans of Possibilities theme."
Programs and events for the Afton Summer Reading Program will be held at 3 p.m. every Thursday in July.
"July 14 we have a juggler and unicyclist coming, and the 21st we’re going to have a bunch of games and challenges set out, like you survive on a deserted island, so the kids will make a little raft and see if it can float," Arnold explained. "July 28 is our last program at Afton, and that’s going to be science celebrity and award winning National Geographic author Steve ‘ The Dirtmeister’ Tomecek, who will present Dive Into Reading, and then we’ll give out some prizes for kids that have participated in the Read and Bead."
In addition to the programs being offered, the libraries also welcome kids to stay after the programs and enjoy the Afton Free Library Maker Space and the Bainbridge Free Library Stay and Play Area.
"In Afton all year long we have a corner where there’s a kids table, and there’s puzzles and games and craft supplies that kids can play with, and here at Bainbridge we have a ‘Stay and Play Area’ we call it. There's puppets at both places, and games," said Arnold.
All in all, Arnold said the programs are "trying to let kids know reading is fun, and it's a different way to approach it in the summer."
Arnold also urged individuals to stop by the libraries, and those who may not live near the Bainbridge or Afton areas to check out their local library for any summer reading programs.
"They’re welcome to stop in anytime, both libraries, we’d love to see them and get them a library card if they don’t have one," she said. "Check with your local library about their summer reading programs, because a lot of our county-wide libraries are having them go on this summer."
The Afton Free Library is located at 105 Main Street in Afton, and is open from 12 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The Bainbridge Free Library is located at 13 North Main Street in Bainbridge, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
More information about the Afton and Bainbridge Free Libraries can be found on the Afton Free Library and Bainbridge Free Library Facebook pages.