FAIRFIELD — Play in the snow, dare a friend to do something or kick back outdoors and simply read a book, and then another book and then another.
All are factors in this year’s Solano County Library’s summer reading program – a summer ritual for many children.
“It’s one of the most successful programs that libraries have had through the history of libraries,” said Kevin Tolley, the youth services librarian at Vacaville’s Town Square branch. “It helps millions of kids read more over the summer and in turn, it helps retain more (knowledge) . . . and just have a little bit of fun over the summer.”
The younger children will focus on gears this year, with the game-board theme, Fizz Boom Read.
Think of Candy Land, as the children fill in a space for every 30 minutes they read. After 15 spaces are filled, they bring the game board in to any library branch and receive a prize. They receive a book when the completed game board is turned in. Interspersed within the game board are optional challenges, such as attending a library event or doing a science experiment.
A major focus this year in the Solano County library system is increasing teen participation in the program, so the librarians went straight to the source to find out what they wanted to do. Tolley said teen participation is steady at his branch, but they wanted more.
The result is the countywide library Dare board that allows teens to set dares for themselves and challenge others to dares. The board offers up the words, “The challenge is yours. You’ve just been served.”
Dares can range from reading a book, a classic, planning a library event, taking a hike, making candy and so on. Dares can be offered and completed online at www.solanolibrary.com/teens or at the Dare board at the local libraries.
One of the largest setbacks to teen participation in the past has been transportation to the library, so librarians decided to open an online component, said Ann Miller, the Solano County Library’s community relations officer.
Of course, there are incentives – a new book for the first two dares completed and every dare after offers a chance to win an iPad Mini.
As Beth Molyneaux, the young adult library associate at Vacaville’s Cultural Center location, went around doing outreach to schools to promote the summer reading program, she said the iPad Mini definitely piqued the interest of the teens. The outreach, she said, was to ensure the kids were “aware of the program coming up” and the various activities associated with summer reading.
Paired with reading, each library branch offers dozens of events throughout the summer – Molyneaux said the projects make the library more visible.
“It generates positive excitement, she said.
Each branch has its own events for children and teens, ensuring a busy summer for those interested in “branch hopping” to the various libraries in Solano County. Teen events include an ice cream social, candle-making, duct-tape crafts, Inventors Lab, and yes, playing in the snow at the library in the middle of the summer. Children’s events include Busy Bee Dogs, magicians, petting zoos, jugglers and magic.
“Why wouldn’t you want to come to all these cool things going on?” Tolley said. “It seems to me, it’s the place to be.”
The reading program runs from June 9 until Aug. 9.
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.
Fairfield Cordelia – all events 10:30 a.m.
Fairfield Civic Center – all programs 3:30 p.m.
Rio Vista – all programs 3 p.m.
Suisun City – all programs 10:30 a.m.
Vacaville-Cultural Center – all shows 3:30 p.m.
Vacaville-Town Square – all events 4 p.m.
Fairfield Cordelia – all events 3 p.m.
Fairfield Civic Center – all events 3:30 p.m.
Rio Vista – all events 3 p.m.
Suisun Library – all events 6 p.m.
Vacaville-Cultural Center – events 3:30 p.m. unless noted
Vacaville-Town Square –events 3:30 p.m. unless noted