The hot summer months are slowly coming to a close and so are the books on the library summer reading programs for Elkin and Jonesville. Both libraries hosted their final events this week wrapping up two months of reading, fun and activities as they prepare for the coming school year and the fall season.
Elkin Public Library held a final coloring party Monday night where adults and children got to come in and color to their heart’s content while enjoying some light refreshments and gentle guitar music.
“I really did enjoy it tonight, it’s really relaxing. I dropped my girl off at cheerleading and I was invited to attend tonight. I had lots of fun coloring,” Clara Caudill. “It’s just something that allows you to unwind and relax.”
“I just like to draw,” said Alisha Mason. “I’ve done all of the programs this summer. I loved the book art activity they held earlier this year although it was a bit challenging as I wasn’t used to it. These programs get people interested in different things. They can try different stuff that they’ve never tried before. I really like the coloring parties.”
This summer was Library Program Assistant Kasey Nowalk’s first time organizing the adult summer reading programs and the experience has given her insight into administering the programs and finding activities that people will enjoy.
“I will admit, this summer didn’t go as well as I hoped,” said Nowalk. “The tricky part is figuring out how to reach out to the adults in this community. I think I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work this summer with the programs. I’m happy that we offered a lot of variety to try to meet the different interests in the community. One thing I have been impressed with is the variety of people willing to teach and share their expertise.”
Nowalk is looking for feedback from locals on this summer’s adult programs and is curious about what people would like to see from the library as they go into the fall season.
The Jonesville Library celebrated with a Hawaiian luau. Children and families enjoyed a free lunch and had a chance to watch “Lilo & Stitch.” Prizes and trophies for this summer’s reading competition were rewarded to kids of all ages. A drawing also was held for trips to Tweetsie Railroad and Lazy Five Ranch.
Despite the Jonesville Library’s sudden move away from its original setting downtown, the library has had a successful year with residents old and new stopping by to see what the programs have to offer.
“We’ve had some new faces and some old faces,” said Branch Librarian Barbara Gilpin. “We usually do a picnic lunch every year to celebrate, but this year we did a luau. We’ve had four new performers this year. The summer reading programs give people a chance to get out into the community and try a new hobby and meet with friends and family. One advantage we’ve had with our new building is the amount of space inside it. The originally building, as much as we miss it, was very choppy and the small spaces limited what we could do program-wise. We have a larger space this year and that allowed us to try out some different activities such as our hula-hoop class.”
The Jonesville Public Library, along with Smart Start of Yadkin County and Yadkin Valley Head Start, is sponsoring a Back-to-School Bash Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jonesville Public Library. The bash will include food, prizes, games, and crafts for kids and families.
“This is a family event with free activities, but with a focus on younger children,” said Gilpin. “We will have a bounce house, Donna Pruett the Balloon Lady, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Chick-fil-A cow, and Elsa among other things.”
Both children and adults have greatly enjoyed the programs because of the variety they were given and how they keep children active throughout the summer.
“I think it’s important to help them continue their reading skills so they don’t get behind during their spring break,” said Keith Macy. “It’s important for them to continue to read and keep up their skills. My oldest boy had been in it 14 summers and the other one has been in them for 11.”
“Oh, I love it. Everything that they have here at the library I’m here for,” said Beanie Taylor. “It’s the only thing in town to do, of course I moved here from the city. Kasey has brought some really great stuff in to the library this year. A lot of the programs are really relaxing. One of the things I think is really important is that it gives kids some place to be other than in the streets. They can interact with adults and it gives a variety of things and choices. We’ve had the magician, we’ve had the poetry readings, everything I’ve done here I end up cracking up and having a really good time.”
The summer reading programs are a significant part of the library’s contribution to the community. Not only does it help children to continue their reading and education while out of school, but it also sparks interests for adults and children and provides activities that give community members a chance to get together, learn, and have fun.
“I think they’re an opportunity for people who don’t normally come to the library to try something new or see what the library is about,” said Nowalk. “It may also encourage them to take a book home with them when they don’t usually have the time.”
“There’s something I call a summer slide where during the summer, a lot of people don’t continue their reading and they’re known to go down two grade levels,” said Gilpin. “The summer programs are like a bridge. It gives them something to do this summer. It gives them something to do in their reading, and allows us to bring in professional programs. For the small area, it brings in culture and new activities, especially in this small township where people don’t travel that much. For the early readers, if they see it’s fun, then they may want them to read more.”
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.