June 24, 2019

Library offers ‘out of this world' summer reading program - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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Library offers ‘out of this world' summer reading program

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Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2019 3:29 pm

One small step was a giant step for mankind in 1969 when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, and that pattern remains true today.

Every time a child picks up a book, that child's small step has gigantic benefits -- from improved concentration and enhanced brain development to a better sense of the world and an enhanced sense of empathy for others. Reading not only improves a child's vocabulary and communication skills but also the child's imagination.

This summer, the Madison Public Library is celebrating those small steps with its summer reading program.

"It's called `A Universe of Stories'," children's librarian Lisa Martin said. "We're taking inspiration from the 50th anniversary of the moon landing -- that one small step."

The reading program for school-aged children will kick off at 3:30 p.m. on June 4, when Duke Otherwise makes an appearance at the library and children can pick up a chain with a brag tag. Otherwise is a Chicago musician who engages children with his clever songs.

"He's delightful for the kids, but even the adults will enjoy the word play," Martin said.

The chains and brag tags will enable young readers to show off the amount of reading they are doing this summer. As they read, they will acquire beads which they can string on the chains. The number of minutes -- or hours -- determines the number and kind of bead that can be added to the chain.

"Read as much as you want for as long as you want," Martin said. "There's no limit."

Fifteen minutes earns a single bead. A sparkle bead can be chosen at 30 minutes, a metallic bead at one hour, a glow-in-the dark bead at two hours and a shape bead at four hours.

"They can swap them out," Martin said, illustrating with the example of getting a metallic bead in exchange for four regular beads.

School-aged children will also be able to earn beads by participating in Lunch with the Library, which will be held on Wednesdays at Madison Elementary School, where free lunches will be served during the summer months.

"At some of the events, they will also get another brag tag," she added.

Cosmic Monday events will be held each week at 4 p.m. beginning on June 10 when participants will make and launch rockets behind the library. The activities will be diverse and include, among other things, doing astronaut training with a program developed by NASA and making galaxy slime to take home.

A special cosmic event will be held on July 2, when city workers will bring their trucks to the library for children to explore.

"They are out of this world! They are really cool!" Martin said, admitting the event is a bit of a stretch considering the theme, but she believes the children will enjoy it.

For the special cosmic event, the library will serve hotdogs, chips and a dessert which will be earned through playing a truck game. All of the events are listed on the back of the reading log.

Summer readers who read 10 hours to complete a reading log will be invited with their families to the Finisher's Party at 5 p.m. on Aug. 5. This will include a simple dinner, door prizes and a fun show.

Preschoolers will have their own reading program which will enable them to earn stickers and a book. Each row on their reading log is designed to prepare them to become readers.

"It's fun stuff like telling a story without a book and reading with a flashlight," Martin said.

Preschoolers age 3 or older can also attend the Cosmic Monday events, but parents need to accompany the children. Storytimes for 3- to 5-year-olds will be Mondays at 6:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. beginning June 10.

"Preschool storytimes will be about aliens and spaceships, about planet Earth and other planets," Martin said.

The teen program will include activities outside the library. In addition to DIY rockets, space crafts and trivia night -- all of which will take place at the library -- teens will have the opportunity to gather at Lake Herman on June 13 and at Sundog Coffee on July 18.

"We're trying to take the library into the community," Martin explained.

After Hours at Lake Herman will include stargazing, s'mores and flashlight tag. Martin is asking teens to pre-register for that event.

When teens gather at Sundog, they will have the opportunity to speak with James Maloney, assistant professor of physics at Dakota State University.

"We're having a science cafe," Martin said. "It's a national movement to bring science and scientists to the people, to make it a conversation."

Adults in the community are also invited to attend that event. However, only teens will get a free beverage.

Martin is excited about the summer program and has been going into classrooms wearing an improvised spacesuit to tell elementary students about it. Those with questions can call her at 256-7525 or email lisa.martin.com.

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