July 16, 2010 — Summers are often a challenge for parents who work full time. The fortunate ones find a reliable family member or babysitter, a day care center or day camp where their children can enjoy the summer with supervision.
But that means many of those youngsters don’t get to attend the free, special Storytimes and Summer Reading Program activities offered at the Springfield-Greene County Libraries. And low-income families may not have the resources to buy books for their children.
Outreach Services Manager Allison Eckhardt was one of those full-time working moms when her boys were younger. She wasn’t available to take them to the library for in-house programs.
That’s why the continued success of Summer Reading To Go feels like such a personal triumph. This is the fifth year she has coordinated the program, which is funded through a Missouri State Library grant and library district funds.
Eight part-time staff members take the Summer Reading Program and activities on the road, to where the children are. The goal of the eight- to 10-week series is to help excite youngsters about summer reading and inspire them to enjoy and appreciate books.
Besides delivering hundreds of books for kids to read through the summer, they present a 30- to 40-minute program that may include reading a story and doing games and crafts around themes like pirates, while teen activities may include making candy sushi, fish prints or friendship bracelets.
This year, 3,935 children and teens still get to participate in library programs while they’re at summer school, day care homes and centers and day camps and clubs, Allison says.
This year Summer Reading to Go and Teen Summer Reading to Go are in14 sites including day camps at Boys & Girls Clubs, the YMCA, Springfield-Greene County Parks and Recreation, Salvation Army; the Carol Jones Girls Residential facility; Regional Girls Shelter and Boys and Girls Town. For the first time the program is also going to rural public schools including Ash Grove, Fair Grove, Republic, Strafford and Willard.
The best yet – each of the sites help the youths track their reading hours and activities so they can reap the prizes provided by business sponsors of the Summer Reading Program.
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