Ca­toosa County Li­brary

Summer Read­ing Club like you’ve never seen be­fore

The Catoosa County News - - FRONT PAGE - By Ta­mara Wolk

It’s summer va­ca­tion for the kid­dos and you’re wor­ried about two things: they’re go­ing to be bored and they’re go­ing to lose some of the ground they gained over the school year.

Prob­lem solved. All you’ll need to do is load up the young-uns and head for the Ca­toosa County Li­brary. What’s go­ing on this summer is like noth­ing you’ve seen be­fore.

“Our summer read­ing pro­gram,” says Chil­dren’s Co­or­di­na­tor Shan­non Neal, “in­cor­po­rates read­ing, art, crafts, games, par­ties, movies, en­ter­tain­ment, act­ing – and that’s not all.”

The li­brary’s read­ing pro­gram is open to all ages, in­fant through age 18. There are ac­tiv­i­ties go­ing on five days ev­ery week all summer long. Here’s a small sam­pling: June 9, movie day for teens, Lego-time for the whole fam, and an af­ter-hours lock-in for tweens; June 10, sto­ry­teller Kaye Rose for the en­tire fam­ily; June 14, Builda-Fort day and Nerf War for tweens; June 22, a science show by Doc Atom and a mar­tial arts show; June 23, a Mad Hat­ter Tea Party for tweens and teens. There will be a Harry Pot­ter party an­other day.

Run­ning through all the fun is the theme of read­ing. Chil­dren re­ceive read­ing logs to record their progress To learn more about the summer read­ing pro­gram or the li­brary: Web: catoosacountyli­brary.org Face­book: face­book.com/ catoosacountyli­brary Email: Info@ catoosacountyli­brary. org Phone: 706-9653600. Or show up in per­son. Li­brary hours are Mon­days and Wed­nes­days, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tues­days and Thurs­days, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fri­days, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Satur­days, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The li­brary is lo­cated at 108 Ca­toosa Cir­cle in Ring­gold.

and are en­tered into draw­ings to win prizes and gift cer­tifi­cates.

Charts for pre­read­ers pro­vide sug­ges­tions to help par­ents make read­ing with their chil­dren more fun: “Play peeka-boo by cov­er­ing pic­tures of peo­ple and an­i­mals in books; Adopt a stuffed an­i­mal pet and talk about how to care for it.”

For older chil­dren, there’s Read­ing BINGO. Each square on a BINGO chart sug­gests some read­ing topic or ac­tiv­ity: “Read to your fam­ily; Read a book about a his­tor­i­cal event; Read for one hour with­out stop­ping; Read a mag­a­zine; Have a read­ing party with friends.”

“We want to chal­lenge kids to step out­side their usual read­ing habits and try new things,” says Neal. “So we have sug­ges­tions about read­ing fairy tales, recit­ing po­etry, read­ing about science, things like that. We want to ex­pand chil­dren’s horizons and get them ex­cited about books.”

Each child’s Read­ing Packet also comes with cer­tifi­cates, book­marks, stick­ers, ideas and a sched­ule of events.

For tweens and teens, there’s not only the read­ing and the ac­tiv­i­ties, which are cool enough, but there’s the op­por­tu­nity to help oth­ers.

“Our theme this year is ‘Build a Bet­ter World,’” says Teen Co­or­di­na­tor Lexi Et­tenger. “Be­sides the fun stuff we’ll be do­ing, we’ll be putting to­gether bag lunches for a com­mu­nity out­reach and do­ing a food drive.”

Et­tenger says the teens who come to li­brary events reg­u­larly are great about vol­un­teer­ing. “A lot of our tweens and teens help with the younger kids – they read to them and help them with

crafts. We have one who does face paint­ing.”

Neal and Et­tenger say they also have some ex­cel­lent adult vol­un­teers, as well as groups and busi­nesses within the com­mu­nity that help out. Sponsors of the summer read­ing pro­gram in­clude Friends of the Ca­toosa County Li­brary, Mod­ern Wood­men of Amer­ica, McDon­ald’s, May­field Ice Cream, McKee Foods and Lake Win­nepe­saukah.

There’s still time for other busi­nesses to be­come in­volved, says Neal. “We can use prizes for our draw­ings and we’d like to es­tab­lish more re­la­tion­ships with our com­mu­nity.”

Neal and Et­tenger are both rel­a­tively new to the Ca­toosa County Li­brary and are ex­cited about their com­mon vi­sion and how well they work to­gether.

Af­ter 10 years as chil­dren’s co­or­di­na­tor for the Osce­ola County, Fla., li­brary sys­tem, Neal moved to Ca­toosa County to be near her par­ents. “When the po­si­tion at the Ca­toosa Li­brary opened up, I jumped at it,” she says. “This is what I love do­ing.” She’s been with Ca­toosa since Septem­ber of last year.

Et­tenger, who holds a de­gree in cre­ative writ­ing and lit­er­a­ture from Lee Univer­sity, has been with the Ca­toosa Li­brary since Jan­uary. “I worked for a while as teen and chil­dren’s lead at Barnes & Noble,” she says, “but this is where my heart is.”

Both women are pas­sion­ate about build­ing li­brary re­la­tion­ships with chil­dren that will make them into en­thu­si­as­tic and life­long read­ers.

Neal takes her sto­ry­telling skills into Head­start class­rooms and day­care cen­ters, as well as us­ing them at the li­brary. Last Wed­nes­day, she says, 120 chil­dren showed up at the li­brary for Story Hour.

Et­tenger says 70 tweens showed up for a re­cent Harry Pot­ter party and par­ents begged the li­brary to do one for teens (it’s on the sched­ule for this summer – for teens and tweens).

Neal and Et­tenger’s en­thu­si­asm has even in­fected their own par­ents, all of whom vol­un­teer at the li­brary.

Above: Shan­non Neal (right), chil­dren’s co­or­di­na­tor at the Ca­toosa County Li­brary, and Lexi Et­tenger, teen co­or­di­na­tor, work as a team to get kids ex­cited about read­ing. Right: The Ca­toosa County Li­brary is well-stocked with Lego Blocks for chil­dren to play with; a Lego Club meets ev­ery Thurs­day at 2 p.m. From left: Jes­sica Lin, Abby Bryan, Ash­lynn Wright, Mar­i­lyn Wil­son, Chase, Melody. (Ca­toosa News photos/Ta­mara Wolk)

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