Summer Reading Programs and More at Your Local Library
School-aged children are used to swapping out books at the media center or classroom library, so keep it up over the summer by visiting your local library. Younger ones will love the sights and events of the library even if they aren’t old enough to read. The best part is the metro Atlanta libraries are ready for you with their summer reading program! The Georgia Public Library’s 2023 theme is “All Together Now,” with a focus on kindness, friendship and unity. Check your local branch for special events like storytimes, arts and crafts, magic and puppet shows, STEAM activities and prizes. Need to find a library? Visit georgialibraries.org.
Find tips on how to keep your kids reading all summer here.
What’s happening where you live?
The Fulton County Library system will kick off its summer reading program on June 1 — look for special events including puppet shows, performances and a themed “Field Day” with face painting, crafts, bubbles and more. Check your local branch’s calendar for storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers, early learning programs, movies and more fun things to do.
During Gwinnett Public Library’s Summer Reading Challenge, “Camp Kindness,” kids of all ages can earn prizes and free books by reading and logging their books on Beanstack. Summer events include storytimes at area parks and splash pads, puppet shows, camp-inspired crafts and activities. Stop in your local branch for early learning and literacy activities, story times and kids’ craft programs.
At DeKalb County Libraries, join in kick-off “All Together Now” scavenger hunts at area branches, where kids can solve puzzles and receive their summer reading starter pack. Many of their library locations offer book clubs, storytimes, author events and more to keep kids engaged and reading.
Beginning June 1, Cobb County Libraries will have their online reading tracker Beanstack ready to roll. Each member of the family can sign up and be entered to win prizes based on how much you read. All summer long, you can make kindness cards for members of the community any time you stop by a branch, plus they’ll have storytimes, arts and crafts and more for the whole family.
Haven’t been to the library lately? Here are some helpful hints for getting started.
Find the branch closest to you. A simple Internet search should make this easy. Once you arrive, find the circulation desk and ask for an application. Fill out the application, kids can do their own (or you can help) and provide a photo ID. Get your FREE library card and start checking out books! n Before you go home, be sure to explore the fun freebies. You can check out passes for places like Zoo Atlanta, Center for Puppetry Arts, the Carlos Museum and the Go Fish Education Center. You can also check out a ParkPass and Discovery Backpack with binoculars and nature guides for Georgia State Parks.
Read on the Go.
Summers are a busy time for families with travel, camps, sports and more. If you didn’t check out enough books for your trip, take advantage of your library’s digital check out for audio and e-books. Whether your child is listening to an audiobook on a road trip, reading an e-book on a device, or going through a stack of picture books on a camping trip, books are the perfect companion to many summer activities, and libraries are making it easy to track reading goals. In addition to traditional paper reading logs, you can take advantage of Beanstack, a digital platform that helps kids track their reading and earn badges by engaging in a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities. It’s a great companion to the traditional paper reading logs and lets kids earn prizes through the Summer Reading Program.
Attend a Show or Activity.
Libraries bring in talented performers during their Summer Reading Programs, so be sure to check their schedule to take advantage of free puppet or magic shows, STEM activities, gardening and even cooking. If you’re wondering if a program is right for your family, call your library for more information and safety guidelines.
For families who want to take a more cautious approach, many libraries offer curbside pickup, craft kits-to-go, STEAM kits, reading subscriptions, virtual programs, book clubs and online music classes. Most libraries also will provide outdoor story times and performances.
Learn Something New.
Summertime can be a great time for kids to explore a new skill or even learn an instrument. Libraries offer items for checkout beyond books and movies, everything from sewing machines to Snap Circuit kits to ukuleles!
Enjoy summer and year-round programming for every type of kid. Children can express their creativity at one of the many library makerspaces in the area. These activities encourage engagement and critical thinking as they help children learn about robotics, engineering, cooking, electronics and more. Many libraries offer story times in multiple languages, early literacy activities for preschoolers and programs to engage youth in everything from gardening to encouraging reluctant readers. If a child has special needs, ask about services the library offers for children with visual or hearing impairments.
“Public libraries are the perfect intersection of imagination, curiosity and wonder for children. Every summer, for a few short months, we have the opportunity to shape the trajectory of a child’s life through reading and imaginative play that will bring them back year after year for a lifetime,” said Evan Bush, youth services director at Georgia Public Library Service.
Summer reading isn’t just for kids though. Public libraries have robust programs for young adults and adults as well. You’d be surprised at some of the activities and prizes offered for adult readers. When you participate, you get the added bonus of becoming a reading role model for your children.
Find more information on reading programs here.