Summer Reading Program Underway at Local Libraries

Thursday, June 8, 2017
The popular husband and wife duo of Brian and Terri Kinder will once again wrap-up this year's Summer Reading Program, as they're scheduled to perform on Wednesday, June 28. They're pictured performing at last year's finale at the Rector Public Library.
TD file photo

Since 1987 the Collaborative Summer Library Program has hosted summer reading programs across the country. For years, local libraries such as Piggott Public Library and libraries in cities including Rector, Corning and many more take part in the annual program. The goal is to help kids learn the value of reading, and to help them build a strong foundation in learning.

With long running, annual events like the Summer Reading Program a generational mentality starts to form around them. Parents bring their kids to the events like their parents did with them. This is important to creating a good community environment.

Gay Johnson, the local library director, has been working for the Piggott Public Library for over 35 years, has witnessed this generational mentality in the Summer Reading Program first hand.

"It's not just about books. It's about the atmosphere, it's about the learning, it's about the fellowship, it's about the recreation it's about the education. It's all of that and I think that is important especially for small towns," Johnson said.

In her almost 36 years of working at Piggott Public Library, Johnson has seen several generations of parents and children attend the annual Summer Reading Program.

"It makes me feel good, it makes me think that I'm doing something right that they're bringing their children in, and grandchildren, great-grandchildren. I'm just glad to see them coming in, and I'm glad the library is here for them to come into."

This year's Summer Reading Program theme is "building a better world", and stresses the importance of building skills to help the community.

Johnson, said, "We're going to be talking about architecture, building houses, building bridges, building up the community anything that you can think can be built that's what we're going to be talking about."

The program uses various resources and events to help educate and entertain children and adults while stressing the importance of reading.

"I think it is important for the community. It is important for the young people to learn how to read, and to stress that you can't do anything if you don't know how to read," said Johnson.

The program uses books, games and prizes, and special guest appearances to help entertain the children while they are learning about the importance of reading.

Johnson said, "I'm trying to build a better relationship with the library. A little bit of building up of everything is what we are going to have."

Johnson said she was grateful to the surrounding community for helping sponsor the Summer Reading Program, and for helping it grow from the small puppet shows of the past to the large special guest appearances of today.

"You can't put on a program like this and keep it going unless you have some help, and the community has been very, very helpful for us."

Johnson said the library's plans for the future include more materials for the children to read, recruiting more volunteers, and keeping programs up-to-date to speed up checking books in and out.

Events for this year's Summer Reading program include magician Scott Davis today, Wednesday, June 7, a community heroes event highlighting local heroes including local emergency services on June 14, comedian and magician Tommy Terrific on June 21 and a live performance from Brian and Terri Kinder on June 28.

All four of the events will first be held at 9 a.m. at the Rector Library, and again at 11 a.m. in Piggott. Those wanting additional information may call the Piggott Public Library at 870 598-3666 or the Rector Public Library at 870 595-2410.

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