But that I would have had my camera today while I was at the Manawa Elementary School promoting the Summer Reading Program. I spent my morning forming conga lines with kids to the tune Splish Splash by Bobby Darin. It was great fun even if it did leave me a little winded. Mrs. Porter the School Librarian, and even some of the teachers joined in all the fun too. Other great moments included being able to hear a pin drop while I read the book All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, and seeing the kids recognize the irony in the book Shark in the Park! by Nick Sharratt. The theme this year is Make a Splash: Read and it's one that is going to give us many opportunities for fun. We've been busy purchasing new books and getting them ready for the kids to check out, planning clever on the spot activities for participants to do and planning the special programs that make this time of year so fun. The kick-off event will be a visit from Dino of Nature's Niche in Stevens Point. Dino is bringing his Animals of the Rainforest program and we're expecting a full house. Also coming later in June is singer/songwriter Tom Pease. His shows are crowd pleasers and we'll be hosting him up at Little Wolf High School to accomodate the crowd.
The special programs are a real treat, the activities add up to a lot of fun, but the program is really about books and about getting kids connected to them. It is what drives us throughout the year and is something we take very seriously. In 2009 and continuing into 2010, the Library has seen a very significant drop in the number of youth materials, particularly books for preschoolers, being checked out. This is troubling to us and we've spent many hours trying to figure it out. Is it something we're doing, or not doing? Is it because of the drop in student population? Are more families buying books? There is no real way to determine what's going on. We would hope that if families are unhappy with the Library, for whatever reason, they would find a way to tell us. We can't fix a problem that we aren't aware of. In any event, we've been reaching out to parents and educators in the community and trying to reverse this unexpected trend. Turning youth into lifelong readers truly does take a village to accomplish. Teachers teach their students to read, librarians offer programs and materials that make reading fun and parents get the whole ball rolling by reading to their children from early on. It is our hope that the summer reading program will inspire kids and their families to keep a reading routine going through the summer - one that will continue the whole year through.