by Mallory Moad
“Moooooommmmmmmmmmm, I’m boooored!” This is the dark side of summer vacation, a result of the sudden lack of structured activity. Another unfortunate aspect is the negative effect a limited amount of mental stimulation for nine weeks can have on a kid’s achievement in school. Have no fear, Moms and Dads, the Fresno County Public Library (FCPL) has your back with the Summer Reading Challenge.
I know what you’re thinking: That has the word “reading” in it. Is this some kind of library mind trick? Well, no. And yes. Here’s the deal: Once upon a time, public libraries were pretty much collections of books intended for personal or educational use. But today’s libraries serve a much bigger purpose. From classes to entertainment to lunches for kids, they have the community’s diverse interests and needs in mind. And what’s really cool…is it’s all free!
The long-running Summer Reading Challenge is one of the best, most exciting examples of this philosophy. This year’s theme is “Read for the Win!” and the main focus is, of course, on reading. By providing incentives like contests and prizes, activities, and access to reading materials, children (teens and adults, too) are encouraged to read on a regular basis. Here’s the trick: participants just might discover that reading is actually enjoyable.
It’s not all about the books, though. To keep everyone’s minds and bodies active and healthy, the Summer Reading Challenge will also include Zumba workouts, music performances, live reptiles, author talks, and coding classes for teens and adults. This year, FCPL is partnering with Zappcon and Crazy Squirrel to offer gaming programs for all ages and levels of interest. Did I mention all this is free?
Here’s something else that’s really cool: For the fourth year, FCPL will be working with the Fresno EOC and Summer Meals Coalition to offer ‘Lunch at the Library.’ Every weekday from June 13 through August 5, at seven library branches, kids age 1–18 can get a nutritious lunch and participate in an activity such as a craft project, game, live performance, or book giveaway. There is no proof of income required and guess what? It’s free!
A kick-off celebration for the Summer Reading Challenge will take place on Monday, June 13 at the Betty Rodriguez Regional Library from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. There will be story telling, science activities, a marvelous magic show, and the opportunity to read to a dog.
With an imaginative approach and a whole lot of fun, FCPL will banish boredom this summer. Musician, Oklin Bloodworth, has been performing at library events for over twenty years so he knows what he’s talking about when he says, “The only thing better than performing at the Summer Reading Challenge is being a kid!” Don’t forget—-it’s free!
For more information about the FCPL Summer Reading Challenge including a full calendar of events for kids, teens and adults, and ‘Lunch at the Library’ locations, visit www.fresnolibrary.org.
My name is Mallory Moad, and I’ll see you at the library!