Dig Into Reading, a children's reading program, was designed by the Collaborative Summer Library Program, a consortium of states that develop materials for summer reading, and is being offered at public libraries in Anniston, Ohatchee, Oxford and Piedmont this summer. The themed summer projects provide a framework for summer programs, but do not include rigid guidelines, so while each library will use some of the posters and pamphlets, the local events will vary.
“We just build our own programs around the theme,” said Tessa Maddox, director at Piedmont Public Library.
According to the Jacksonville Public Library’s website, it is also participating in the children’s program.
In addition to the children’s program, some area libraries are also offering teen and adult programs, both of which were developed by the Collaborative Summer Library Program.
Like the children’s summer reading theme, the teen and adult summer reading programs are also centered around what happens where earth meets sky.
The public libraries in Anniston, Piedmont and Oxford are offering a teen program titled Beneath The Surface. The Oxford library is also offering adult summer reading events, entitled Groundbreaking Reads.
“It gives the librarian wonderful ideas to be able to conduct a program,” said Karen Day, director of administrative services for the Library Program.
At the Piedmont library, participation in the children’s program increased this summer, Maddox said. Fewer than 100 children had registered by this time last year, while 140 children have this year.
The summer reading program for children will take place in Piedmont today. There, an organic farmer will take the children outside from the library for “story time under the trees” and an organic tomato planting activity.
“A lot of what they love about it is that it’s going to be hands-on,” Maddox said.
The farmer, Roxanna Sims, said she will read Stone Soup, a story about hungry soldiers who trick stingy village dwellers into making a soup. The theme of the book, she said, is collaboration.
While not all activities are tied directly to the themes — Monday teens at the Anniston Public Library participated in a collaborative art collage of faces — all the library activities are part of the summer reading program if they draw people to the books, librarians said.
“It encourages them to read,” said Amber Sprayberry, director the children’s library in Oxford.
There, roughly 400 children have signed up for the summer reading program, she said adding that their books and activities are linked to the theme.
“Everything we have going on right now somehow ties to it,” Sprayberry said.
While each library chooses if, and to what extent, it participates in the program, Day said one thing is sure: they all enrich the children who participate in them.
“Children that continue to read through the summer keep their skills up,” Day said. “There is still something about picking up a book and going and sitting down and just reading.”
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.