Urrea is an author you will want to see in person

Kristie KirkpatrickWhitman County Library

Libraries across the nation, as well as those right here on the Palouse are having a blast (off) with this year’s summer reading theme, “A Universe of Stories.” As a result, residents of all ages are busy exploring outer space, futuristic technology, and of course, a fabulous selection of books.

Personally, I’ve already visited the Mobius Planetarium in Uniontown and experienced a virtual ride on Apollo 11 at the TEK Lab at Colfax Library.

As an adult summer reader, I’ll earn a prize for attending programs like the ones described above and/or for reading just three books. Besides the incentive for finishing, adult participants are entered into a countywide drawing for tablets donated by Washington State Employees Credit Union, a WSU-themed basket, Merry Cellars wine, gift certificates and more.

Thanks to financial support from Friends of the Library, local businesses and individual donors, Whitman County Library can provide fabulous family performances, interesting presentations and fun reading incentives for all ages.

One such program set for the coming week is Joshua J. Superstar. Last year, my grandkids and I loved his show, and I highly recommend seeing it.

Superstar masterfully fuses side-splitting comedy and nail-biting stunts with loads of audience participation. A typical performance might include balancing a ladder on his face (or balancing an audience member) while riding a 6-foot-tall unicycle.

Joshua J. Superstar’s shows are Monday in the Colton park at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday at the Endicott Library at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday at the LaCrosse City Park at 10:30 a.m. and at the St. John Library at 1 p.m.

On July 13, Superstar is at the Oakesdale Library at noon as part of Old Mill Days and July 17 at the Rosalia Community Center at 6 p.m.

A fabulous program for kids happens every Monday at the Colfax Library. The STEAM Lab is from 10-11:30 a.m., where children 6 and older can explore coding with Lego Mindstorms and Ozobots, design working electronic circuits with Snap Circuits or littleBits and create a fantastic structure using Legos or K’Nex. STEAM Lab is so fun, kids don’t even know they are learning valuable skills.

Just this week, STEAM Lab was surprised by a visit from Schweitzer Engineering staff who came to see what kids were learning. To support young readers, they also donated 14 baskets filled with STEM learning toys that will be a part of the Summer Reading giveaways happening countywide.

Speaking of STEM learning, youngsters 8 and older are invited to the Colton and Uniontown libraries for a special moon adventure with the Ozobots on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Uniontown and Thursday at 3 p.m. in Colton.

For the older crowd, WSU astronomy professor Matthew Duez presents “Black Holes” on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Colfax Library. You’ll learn what black holes are, how they form and where things go that get sucked up by them. This is part of the Science on the Palouse Series sponsored by Whitman Conservation District and is generally for those 10 and older.

As I mentioned, you can take a trip on Apollo 11 or explore a variety of virtual experiences at the Colfax Library every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and also in a number of branch locations. Participants 13 and older are encouraged to call for an appointment and more information.

To learn about Summer Reading programs across the Palouse, contact your local library or Whitman County Library at (509) 397-4366 or online at www.whitco.lib.wa.us. Select the “Events Calendar” or call us to learn about hundreds of programs happening across Whitman County this summer.

Kristie Kirkpatrick is the director of the Whitman County Library.

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