By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Visitors to Memorial Library, young and old alike, can have a global experience this summer.
Sign ups will be taken starting May 23 for the library’s summer reading program, which is available to everyone in the community, and the program begins in early June.
This year’s theme for children ages birth to sixth grade is “One World Many Stories,” and children’s librarian Carol Rittscher said weekly sessions are planned for each age group with special programs featuring a look at the world’s continents, which she said allows kids to learn the stories of countries. Crafts will likewise be a part of the summer reading program, and Rittscher said this will also help children educate themselves about other lands.
“When our special program speakers, they will learn what life is like in their country,” she said. “A lot of our special presenters this summer are students from Seward County Community College who are here attending school from other countries. We’re really excited to have them become part of our summer programming.”
Rittscher said children’s programming is set up in age groups from birth to 6th grade, and kids can come to the library once a week for the special session for their age group. There are also special events that are open to all members of the family.
“They’re kind of scattered at different times throughout the programming, which begins on May 31 and ends on July 1,” Rittscher said. “For that five weeks, as we have done in the past, the youngsters will set a reading goal. If they set a goal of at least 10 hours of reading during those five weeks, they can earn a summer reading T-shirt, and they’re very colorful this year.”
Rittscher said three of the events on the children’s summer reading calendar will not be specifically individuals talking about the country of their origin. The first of those is Llamas on the Lawn, a returning feature.
“That was very popular when we did it a few years ago, so we decided we’d like to bring them back,” she said. “They will be with us on June 2 at 6:30 in the evening.”
Next, Rittscher said the library will have Multilingual Storytime on June 7. This is a twist on the popular Bilingual Storytime program at the library.
“We are going to come together for the reading of ‘A Rainbow Fish Story,’ in French, Spanish and English,” she said. “That will be a family storytime. Anybody can come to that.”
The Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City will also have a presentation on June 30. Rittscher said details on that event are still sketchy at this time.
“When I first spoke with them, they hadn’t really set up anything,” she said. “They were aware of our theme for this year. They weren’t able to give me a title for the program, but they are going to be with us at 2 o’clock on June 30.”
Rittscher said she would like to remind attendees of the zoo presentation to be on time.
“Zoo regulations require that we not admit any late arrivals,” she said. “Once they bring the animals out, it could be a safety issue for them, so they want us all to be seated and quiet before the program starts.”
Rittscher said Memorial Library is looking to the community for help with crafts on some of the projects for the summer reading program.
“We have a project we’re working on where we’re looking for old travel magazines, travel brochures or maps people don’t want,” she said. “If they could bring those to the library in the next couple weeks, we would really appreciate it, and it would help us out a lot.”
This is Rittscher’s eighth year of working with the summer reading program at Memorial Library, and she is definitely looking forward to this year’s event.
“This is our big program of the year, and it’s always very successful,” she said. “It’s completely free of charge.”
For teens, the program will be entitled “You Are Here,” and will feature an international film series open to everyone. Library assistant director Paulina Poplawska is also seeking some help from the community one of the teen reading projects.
“I sent out a little letter requesting postcards from around the world,” she said. “If there’s anyone in the community who knows anybody who’s traveling and would like to send us a postcard. So far, we’ve gotten Portugal, South Korea, Holland, Ecuador and Key West, Fla.”
Post cards can be sent to SRP Teens, C/O Liberal Memorial Library, 519 N. Kansas, Liberal, KS 67901. Poplawska is hoping to provide teens with an exciting summer reading program this year.
“We will be featuring Japan, Europe, France, India, South Africa and our neighbors, Canada and Mexico,” she said.
The teen program will start on June 1 with a haiku and tea tasting event, and Poplawska said teens will also get to participate on a new twist on a classic game show.
“I’m very excited about the European Jeopardy session we’re having,” she said. “We start off the first week with haiku and tea tasting and make our way into European watercolors.”
Other activities in the teen event include Crepes and Croquet on the lawn, a workshop on origami with Diane Marsh of the Baker Arts Center, batik making, Bollywood, and South African beaded bracelets.
For adults, the theme of the summer reading program is “Novel Destinations.” Poplawska said adults can read or listen to their choice of books from the library.
“For some flair, try out international authors,” she said.
Two drawings will take place during the summer.
“There will be a Novel Destinations Social for fellow participants to mingle and talk books,” Poplawska said.
Sign ups for both the teens and adults also begin May 23, and the adult program runs June 1 through July 18.
“We have passports for the adults,” Poplawska said. “They’ll be issued the passports, and there’s raffle tickets inside disguised as book reviews. They fill out the tickets with the titles they read and rate them by the amount of suitcases. We draw throughout the summer for prizes. They’ll have an opportunity to drop them off at the circulation desk throughout the summer.”