Westerly Sun Column | Summer Reading Program is for All Ages

June 10, 2024

It seems highly unfair to me that dismal months like January and February slog by at a snail’s pace, but these nicer months pass by in no time at all. Impossible as it seems, the school year is ending and the season is changing, which means … it’s time for Summer Reading! Since our Children’s Summer Reading program has been offered for the last 93 (!) years, many of you lifelong or longtime Westerly residents probably have memories of participating in it with your older children, or even as a youth yourself! The good news is, you don’t have to wax nostalgic for the good ol’ days … these days, there are ways for all ages to participate.

Each year we follow a broad theme for our all-ages Summer Reading programs, and this year we couldn’t be more excited to have it revolve around conservation: “Read, Renew, Repeat.” We’ve had a great time planning fun and educational activities that focus on environmental themes, and encourage youth to spend time outdoors. Kids will enjoy interacting with their environment through our Natural Arts sessions and Eco Explorers group, and tweens and teens in grades 4-12 can join our Youth Garden Club, where they’ll learn how to take care of a garden, and harvest the bounty they grow. Adults and families can attend our “Lunch and Learn” series each Monday in July to meet representatives from various conservation-centered local organizations (such as the Westerly Land Trust and Yellow Farmhouse Education Center), and hear about their work — all while enjoying a free bagged lunch. This is just a snapshot; there are plenty more programs for all ages throughout the summer (including our 2nd Annual Community Art Exhibit), so check out website for a full list.

In addition to planning programs that connect to our theme, we’re encouraging reading as a method of self-preservation and restoration. Beginning this Saturday, June 15, you can sign up for our Summer Reading Program in-person, by downloading the Beanstack app, or by visiting westerlylibrary.beanstack.org on a computer. Everyone who signs up will receive a free book, and can earn the chance the win great prizes — including toys and games for kids, and gift certificates for teens — by logging their reading throughout the summer. As mentioned, adults are also encouraged to join the fun! We’ll have weekly drawings throughout the summer, and every book you read will increase your chance to win a gift certificate to a different local restaurant. For my fellow foodies and food-motivated friends, this is a sure way to increase your reading over the summer months!

As mentioned, registration for the Summer Reading Programs begins this Saturday, and everyone is invited to join our Kickoff Party in Wilcox Park from noon to 3 p.m. In addition to signing up and receiving your free book, you can also get free gelato from Pompelmo Gelato (while supplies last), and meet representatives and animals from Roger Williams Zoo and the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. It’s fun for the whole family!

by Cassie Skobrak, Adult Services Librarian

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