Summer is the season to read

Sheri Miller, Whitman County Library

As the school year winds down, families are gearing up for summer fun. But the longer days and warmer temperatures aren’t just about soaking up the sun, sleeping in and staying up past bedtime. It’s actually the perfect season for youth, teens and adults to explore their interests and stay ahead of the game mentally and intellectually. Summer is the season to read!

Summer reading programs at local libraries date back to the 1890s as a way to encourage school children to use the library and develop the habit of reading. For the adult population, it was a time when America’s middle class was on the rise. Transportation became easier and many families had vacation time, weekends off and time to enjoy reading for pleasure.

Libraries, vacations and holidays probably looked very different back then, but the goal of encouraging literacy and using your public library still holds true today. At no other time of the year is reading so universally supported. Reading over the summer is the perfect opportunity for youth to explore their interests and stay ahead of the game academically.

The summer reading program in our communities may look similar to people you know living throughout the United States. In 2003, The Washington State Library joined a national Collaborative Summer Library Program, or CLSP, dedicated to providing children, teens and adults with quality summer reading program materials through their public libraries. The Whitman County Library was instrumental in working with the state library to help initiate the combining of resources, talents and past experiences to make the program more affordable and productive for librarians. The CSLP consortium brings reading programs to communities at the lowest cost possible for public libraries. Membership currently stands at 50 states and the District of Columbia.

We invite you to Whitman County Libvrary’s 2022 CLSP “Oceans of Possibilities” June 1 through Aug. 31. You can register online through Beanstack at whitcolib.org/beanstack/ or stop in at your library to participate. Library materials and programs boast a variety of resources to keep you and your family engaged and learning. Activities include ocean-related crafts, art projects, treasure hunts, science experiments, musical performances, magicians and more. And it being summer, the free programs can just be good fun and provide an opportunity for family time.

Most parents are busy planning how to keep their children active and learning during the summer. It’s a really good time to focus on things that the student is interested in. Children can visit their local library to check out books on topics they like without having to break the bank in book purchases. Whether it’s reading about a specific star or artist, favorite animal or book series, the library offers free materials without parents spending a dime. This gives readers the opportunity to dive deeper into an area of interest that they may not have time for during the school year.

In today’s tough economy, many people are saving money by visiting their public libraries. Families are taking advantage of wireless hotspots, the Library of Things collection, STEM bags, online databases and audiobook downloads and movies. There are 14 branch locations of the Whitman County Library. If you live in the area, it’s quite possible you have a public library within a walk, bike ride or short drive near you.

Summer reading can have a huge impact on what is possible for you and your family. Make reading and learning a regular part of summer by joining others in the community for lots of good reads and special programs at your public library. Visit the Whitman County Library, sign up for the summer reading program and find out why it’s the season to read.

Miller is the interim director and youth services manager for the Whitman County Rural Library District.

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