Summer is right around the corner, and while there are many unknowns in our world and community, there is one certainty — there is no stopping Summer Reading at the Latah County Library District.

We are excited to introduce this year’s Summer Reading theme: “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

Together, all communities throughout Latah County will celebrate the summer by spreading love throughout our neighborhoods in a digital way.

Community members of all ages are invited to participate in this year’s program. For the first time, LCLD will run a single program open to babies, kiddos, school-aged children, teenagers and adults.

Our program will run from June 1 to July 31. There will be no registration necessary for Summer Reading this year and materials will be available starting June 1.

Summer Reading includes a series of three reading challenges, as well as online programs. The challenges are as follows:

1. Complete 10 days of reading.

2. Get a bingo by completing five activities in a row.

3. Get a blackout on the same bingo card by completing all the activities.

With a nod to Mr. Rogers, the bingo activities emphasize the importance of kindness and community. Upon completing a challenge, fill out the prize entry form on our website for a chance to win prizes.

While we are sad that our events cannot take place inside our libraries, we are excited to offer a fun and inventive program, from our houses to yours.

Summer Reading Materials, including reading logs and bingo sheets, will be available for viewing and downloading from the library’s Facebook Page or website.

Additionally, you may be able to request materials to be picked up curbside. Even though we are not able to host our amazing lineup of Summer Reading performers inside our facilities, you will still be able to enjoy fun digital and interactive performances via our Facebook page.We will host digital events with opportunities for your kiddos to participate in question and answer sessions with L-Bow the Clown; musician Eric Herman and the Puppy Dogs; Extreme Science with Radical Rick; magician Star Alexander; and more.

We are also excited to offer opportunities to participate in activities with our librarians digitally with some hands-on components. Every branch of the Latah County Library District will participate in Fairyopolis, have Take-Out crafts, and offer various STEM activities.

Summer Reading is not only about fun reading challenges, new activities, amazing performers and opportunities to learn new skills, it is also about keeping your children from falling victim to the dreaded summer slide.

Each year, during the summer months, school children have the unfortunate potential of losing academic gains that they made during the school year. This has never been more true than during this unprecedented time where children have been out of school for an extremely extended amount of time.

Thankfully, your local public library is here to help steer your children back on course and celebrate the love of lifelong and yearlong learning. Participating in Summer Reading will help school age children bridge the gap between the months out of school.

Not only is Summer Reading important for youth, it is also beneficial for adults. Participation allows adults to become involved in their community and enhance mental wellbeing while curbing social isolation. And, as a bonus, when adults participate in programs, they set positive examples of lifelong learning for the children in their lives.

We hope you will join us for this year’s Summer Reading, where it is A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Watch our Facebook page @Latah County Library District and website at latahlibrary.org for more details.

And now, in your best Mr. Rogers voice please sing along: So let’s make the most of this beautiful day. Even though we’re not together, we might as well say, Let’s read a book. Let’s take a walk. Let’s all be good neighbors.

Stacie Echanove is the youth services manager for the Latah County Library District.

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