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Western Kentucky libraries continuing summer reading programs this year

"Oceans of Possibilities" is the theme many summer reading programs in western Kentucky this year.
Collaborative Summer Library Program
"Oceans of Possibilities" is the theme many summer reading programs in western Kentucky this year.

Libraries throughout western Kentucky are continuing their summer reading programs this year in hopes of achieving pre-pandemic attendance.

Many libraries in the region are adopting the “Oceans of Possibilities” theme developed by the Collaborative Summer Library Program. People of all ages can log their reading hours to win small prizes and attend an array of in-person events throughout the summer.

Across the next two months, the McCracken County Public Library itinerary for children will include live music by Big Bang Boom, a play by Market House Theatre actors, a magic show by Barry Mitchell and more.

For adults, the library will offer smartphone accessibility classes, yoga in the garden and a historic downtown walking tour, among other events. Teens can participate in weekly ocean-themed crafts workshops.

Linda Bartley, youth services manager for MCPL, said recent events for young children have brought in more than 80 attendees each, down from pre-pandemic numbers but considered strong nonetheless. She’s seen steadily increasing uptake since the summer began.

“I believe that the summer reading programs are beneficial to keep students learning through the summer so they’re better prepared to return back to school in the fall,” Bartley said. “For us, it’s great to have the families coming in through the summer to learn all of the free things that we have that are fun and then learn more about the library and hopefully take some books and movies home and explore our website.”

The Hopkinsville-Christian County Public Library will offer similar events including science and magic shows, sewing and watercolor classes and more. Existing programs such as the Friday morning walking group and Hopkinsville Brewing Company book club will also continue during this time.

Based on hours read, pre-readers, children, tweens, teenagers and adults are up for an assortment of age-appropriate goodies at the end of the summer. There are also raffles to win a bonus prize for all age groups except pre-readers.

DeeAnna Sova, executive director of HCCPL, said approximately 450 people have already registered for the program this year, on par with pre-pandemic numbers. At the height of the pandemic, the library used an app as a contactless means to track participation.

“Being able to have actual in-person programs and not have to be so concerned at this time as we have in the past is really great,” Sova said. “This is a chance for [students] to read what they want at their own pace, and the great thing is that they still get to win prizes.”

Elsewhere in western Kentucky, the Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library will host weekly events for kindergarteners through fifth graders Tuesdays at 2 p.m., tweens and teenagers Thursdays at 4 p.m., adults Thursdays at 4 p.m. and preschoolers Fridays at 10:30 a.m. This includes a henna class for teens and adults on July 30 at 5 p.m. CST.

Due to ongoing construction, the Calloway County Public Library will run a virtual “Ocean Adventures” reading program for children ages 5 though 12 this summer. Other events such as book discussions are meeting off-site each week.

Contact your local library for more information about summer reading programs in your area.

Dustin Wilcox is a television production student at Murray State University. He graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 2019.
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