By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
The school year is over, and summer vacation is just around the corner.
Memorial Library will be adding to the fun of summer again this year with its annual Summer Reading Program, and along with a new theme, there will be a new age group for this year’s event.
Adults will be able to get in on the fun this year with a reading program of their own. Children’s librarian Carol Rittscher said she had many parents who while signing their children up for the regular program asked about having one for adults.
“We’ve got the materials here for the adult one,” she said. “We thought this is doable. We’ll try and see if we can get some interest in it. We have had pretty good interest, but we still don’t feel like we’ve gotten the word out enough.”
The themes for the teen, adult and children’s summer reading programs all center around water. The theme for the adult program is “Water Your Mind,” and Rittscher said the program is set up a bit differently from that for kids.
“It’s seven weeks long instead of five,” she said. “We’ve divided it into 10 different reading categories. You read 10 different types of books in the program. There are incremental rewards.”
Book types include mystery, romance, fiction, biographies and classics, and those who read three books by June 11 are eligible for a prize.
“We have four separate small drawings throughout summer reading,” Rittscher said. “On July 17, which is the end of the program, if you’ve read 10 books, you can get your name in the grand prize drawing.”
Rittscher said there are many fun categories.
“People should make an attempt to sign up, especially if they have children at home. What a wonderful example it is to their children if they see their parents reading,” she said.
Sign ups for all three programs will be taken through Saturday. The theme for the children’s Summer Reading Program is “Make a Splash Read,” and “Make Waves @ Your Library” for the teens.
Rittscher said the library encourages children enrolled in summer reading to set a reading goal.
“They must set a goal of at least 10 hours,” she said. “We have lots of individual age group programs. We have special programs for everybody, and the first one is Friday, June 4. It is Bubble Man.”
The performer for that program, Ron Tibbetts, does live educational science, math and technology rich programs for children of all ages.
“The Bubble Magic Show inspires creativity and enhances the desire to use your imagination to learn more about life, the universe and everything,” Rittscher said. “The idea is to promote understanding and critical thinking skills to the scientific model of education. Mr. Tibbetts has traveled all over the United States and European countries.”
The Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City will be back for this year’s program, and Rittscher said this year’s presentation will feature amphibians.
“They’ll be here at 2:30 on June 10. We want to remind everybody that they need to be prompt to that program because the zoo does have a requirement that there is no moving around for the safety of the handler as well as the people who are here,” she said.
Josh Jagels from the Meade Lake Fish Hatchery will be in Liberal on June 24, and officials from the science department will also come to town on June 28 with a program called “Life in A Drop of Water.” Rittscher said the latter program is geared to kids ages 8 to 12, and reservations are required.
The children’s and teen summer reading programs both end on July 2, but Rittscher said children are in for a special treat on July 9.
“We will have Froggy here with us,” she said. “This year, we’re bringing Jonathan London’s Froggy character. He’ll tell Froggy stories, and there’ll be opportunities for people with cameras to take pictures of their kids with Froggy.”
The teen reading program starts Thursday, and assistant librarian Paulina Poplawska said one of the highlights of this year’s event is on June 9
“We have Scuba Ventures presented by Mike Hill coming,” she said. “He’s going to talk about scuba diving and the importance of certification.”
On Tuesday, June 29, Brian Bartels from Fort Hays State University will be at Memorial Library to examine “What Lurks in the Murky Depths.”
“The kids are going to examine aquatics, invertebrates, the creepy, crawly insects in streams and ponds, to determine water quality, what do these creatures look like,” Poplawska said. “Just imagine the alien characters from Star Wars shrunk down to macroscopic size.”
On June 23, teens will get to enjoy water balloon volleyball.
“That should be a blast,” Poplawska said.
Reading logs for kids and teens will be due by 1 p.m. Saturday, July 3, and the grand prize drawing for the adult summer reading program will take place Friday, July 17.
“We had about 400 kids take part last year, and we’re looking for the same numbers,” Rittscher said. “I’ve already seen some faces this year that were not part of summer reading last year.”