BONNYVILLE – The Bonnyville Municipal Library is wondering what will make local youth find a page-turner this summer.
Parents will have a chance to provide their feedback on what their children are interested in through a survey being conducted by the local library. Using the answers gathered through the survey, the branch intends to tweak their Summer Reading Program.
“With the library doors being closed right now, we’re not seeing the same people or able to get the same feedback the same way as in past years,” explained Library Programmer Kat Eliason. “It’s so that we’re providing activities and programs that are going to hit some of those interests and so there’s something for everybody and to just make sure that we’re on the same page as our community.”
The Summer Reading Program will be offered virtually this year and will include take-home kits with crafts and hands-on activities for participants. Video-based programming will also be available along with some that are aimed to get the kids moving.
Eliason said they plan to incorporate Story Walks this summer, which proved to be popular during their Family Literacy Day Event.
“There’s a story that is set up somewhere and you walk along to read it,” she explained. “Once we have an idea of where we’ll set those up, they’ll be available for people to learn and read the stories.”
An added feature this year includes games like Pokémon Go and Harry Potter Wizards Unite. Eliason noted the Northern Lights Library Systems (NLLS), which Bonnyville is a part of, has worked with the creator of the games, Niantic, to add stops and gyms at libraries.
“You can be outside or near the library and then playing those games to try and keep the library in people’s minds, even if right now they can’t come in the building. We’ll incorporate that into our summer program.”
Eliason added, “NLLS has some things that they’re providing to support all of the libraries within the system so we might have some friendly competitions. We’re still looking at a few of the details but we’ll have some challenges for kids to do. Whether it’s a scavenger hunt, or a bingo game, or we might be competing against some other libraries for (prizes).”
As always, participants will be encouraged to fill out reading logs for a chance to win prizes.
The Bonnyville Library has been offering the program for a number of years. Although what it looks like has changed in that time, the main focus is to reduce what Eliason calls the “summer slide.”
“There’s a significant drop in literacy skills over the summer months because kids aren’t every day... working on their literacy skills. Reading, writing, comprehension, and decoding the messages of the world around them,” she explained. “In the summertime, that slows down because it’s not being demanded of them to hone those skills. The Summer Reading Program helps reduce that dip in literacy skills with kids reading and having some sort of interactive program to do throughout the summer. They’re having fun but they’re also helping their future selves when they go back to school in the fall. They won’t have dropped their skill level.”
Registration for the Summer Reading Program opens June 17 and it runs through all of July and halfway through August.
The survey can be found at bonnyvillelibrary.ab.ca.