School's almost out, but that's no reason to put away the books.
Local libraries are giving kids plenty of reasons to keep reading all summer long, thanks to their Summer Reading Programs.
This year's theme for the programs in all three local counties is “Dream Big — Read!” With that focus, libraries are hosting all sorts of events that focus on nighttime and dreaming, featuring everything from stargazing to owls (see lists for details).
Heather McNeil, youth services manager for the Deschutes Public Library system, says this year's theme is great. “It's been a lot of fun putting this together.”
The library system will host overnight events at the Downtown Bend, East Bend and Redmond public libraries, during which kids and parents are invited to sleep over and experience the library at night. This is the first year the library has hosted a sleepover event, although it's something McNeil has considered for several years. She says the event will be family-focused, with parents and kids making family crests, participating in relay races and singing together.
Teenagers will also be invited to a late-night lock-in event at the library from 7 to 11 p.m.
McNeil is also excited to bring Bobby Norfolk to Bend for the StoryStars presentation. The free event at the Tower Theatre on June 16 will feature this nationally renowned storyteller. Norfolk, who is from St. Louis, has won an Emmy for his work and has a unique, vaudeville-like style, according to McNeil. “He's bigger than life, you can't help but laugh,” said McNeil. The event is for all ages, but is best for those age 3 and older.
Last year, the Deschutes Public Library system had about 5,000 kids and teens and about 800 adults participate in summer reading programs.
Jane Ahern with the Crook County Library is excited about several events this summer, including a kickoff program with juggler Charlie Brown, who will help teach children how to juggle after his performance. The event will also include free balloon animals, face painting and refreshments. The library in Prineville will host the Dragon Theater Puppets, who will perform two shows for kids. Magician Bill Mitchell will also perform.
In addition to fun programming, kids who participate in reading programs can earn all sorts of prizes just by reading a few books. All three library systems are giving away books as well as other large grand prizes for kids who complete reading this summer — younger children can participate by having their parents read aloud to them. Contact each participating library for details about how the program and prize giveaways work.