The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 3, 2012

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Summer arrives when library programs begin

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
The Joplin Globe

PITTSBURG, Kan. — As long as I can remember, two Pittsburg landmarks have spelled the official start of summer: the pool and the library.

The pool — now known as the Pittsburg Aquatic Center — opened to swimmers last week, offering up fun in the sun just as it has for generations. Today, the library’s summer programming kicks off; it runs through the end of July.

To heck with the calendar. Summer has officially arrived.

If you are a parent, consider having your children participate in “Dream Big for Kids,” this summer’s thematic story time and incentivized reading program for babies, toddlers, kids and teens. More than 1,000 youths sign up each year, and by logging what they read (or listen to), they earn free swim passes, miniature golf passes and prizes.

Each week, they also may attend story time — in my opinion, the best free entertainment in town — at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays, at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, and at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. The children’s department staff does a bang-up job with skits, songs, puppet plays and craft activities. I always have as much fun as my sons.

No need to keep a regular schedule. If one week it works best for you to take your children on Monday, but the next week Tuesday works better, that’s fine. There is no registration, no form to fill out. Just show up and prepare for some wonderful literature-based fun.

If your children are ages 7 to 11 and aren’t as interested in story time any longer, the library staff devised a program just for them — appropriately named “The 7 to 11 Program” — a few years ago that my older son loved.

It meets at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each Thursday. This Thursday will be “Blast Off.” On June 14, the participants will “Paint a Masterpiece.” At 1 p.m. on June 21, attendees can expect a presentation from the Sedgwick County Zoo. At 1 p.m. on June 28, they can expect a special presentation featuring Nutty Professor Science.

If your children are in their teens, they may participate in “Own the Night,” this summer’s thematic, incentivized reading program for teens. Those who participate can win a free book and will be entered into the grand prize drawing for a Kindle Fire.

Teens in the seventh through 12th grades also may attend Movie Night at 6 p.m. on Mondays. Chosen by young adults, the movies are shown on the big screen with theater quality sound. Popcorn is served. A list of titles is available in the library’s lobby.

Adults, don’t despair. There’s a chance for you to have some fun, too. Sign up for “Between the Covers,” this summer’s thematic, incentivized reading program for adults. Read six books to receive a free book bag. Those who complete the program will be entered into a grand prize drawing.

Adults also may participate in a book discussion slated for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 19. This month’s selection is “The Bride’s House” by Sandra Dallas. Discussion books are available for checkout or purchase at the circulation desk.

For those who have paired technology with their reading, a new format of e-books is available. The collection includes fiction, nonfiction, young adult and children’s literature, and can be accessed with your library card and ID number. Those who have e-readers may visit the library’s website to try it from home or may take their devices to the library computer lab for help getting started.

A shout-out: The library’s special summer programming is sponsored by the Friends of the Pittsburg Public Library, a support group that raises funds throughout the year from the sales of gently used books.

See you amid the stacks.

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