Library mixes up summer reading

The theme this year is “Read, Renew, Repeat”


If you were expecting the usual from the Summer Reading Program, think again! The West Liberty Public Library is mixing it up this year and simplifying the whole program, and making it conveniently pocket-sized, too.

The theme this year is “Read, Renew, Repeat,” and the library has tried to use that theme in the selection of prizes and events.

“To simplify things, we are doing punch cards,” Paarsmith said. “All of the punch cards have six available punches on them. You can get punched for having read a book or for having attended a library program.”

“We’ve simplified it in a way that I think is going to make it more accessible to more people,” Paarsmith said. “You don’t have to have a library account to participate.”

There are different age groups for the punch cards, starting with little kids from birth to kindergarten, followed by first to sixth grade, then ages thirteen to eighteen, and the final category is adults.

Every participant simply gets a punch card which includes their personal information so they can be contacted if they win a prize.

Prizes are also divided by age group, and each category gets a choice of two prizes.

For the little ones, the two prizes are adorable. One is a tissue-pulling box with leaves that Velcro together so littles can make the plant grow. 

The other option is a solar lantern building kit with a book about stars. Both prizes are from KiwiCo.

For bigger kids ages 6-12, the two prize choices are a yellow Stanley Cup with stickers and a PeachyBBies slime bundle.

“These are apparently slimes that are purchased by Kardashians,” Paarsmith said. “World-famous slimes.”

For teen readers ages 13-18, there is another Stanley Cup with stickers or a modern art Lego kit. Adults can choose between a $100 gift card to Rosie’s Massage or $100 in Chamber bucks.

There will also be a collective prize if we get enough people reading this summer. At the end of the summer, the WLPL will host a pool party at Kimberly Park. That will be open to the whole community.

And how do you win these amazing prizes? By reading a book or attending a library event. Events include adult story time, which is simply someone reading a story to grown-ups.

We can expect a visit from the Quad Cities Botanical Gardens who will explore worms and vermicomposting, a process that relies on worms to turn organic materials into valuable soil.

The Iowa State Insect Zoo is returning this year, as well as the Muscatine County Conservation, and it seems likely they’ll be talking about cicadas, but we will have to attend to know for sure.

A big feature of the Summer Reading Program will be a musical storytime and corresponding concert with Eliza Escalante, a classically trained operatic soprano who currently works as the General Director of Opera Arlington in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Escalante will perform musical storytime and then perform an evening concert with an opera-meets-Broadway theme.

Escalante will be accompanied by Becca Swanson, West Liberty Middle School music teacher and choir director. We can look forward to knowing more about that as the summer continues.

In July, the West Liberty Public Library will be hosting board game nights. They’ve been shopping for new games and hope to share them with the community.

Some games will be available to borrow, but some games will remain in the library. There will also be movie nights this summer at the library as well as a tiny art program.

“We’ve done that before,” Paarsmith said, “where people come in and we give them little tiny canvases. The art has to be tiny and it’s for all ages, and then we’ll put them on display for a time.”

All this planning has been done without a Youth Services Librarian.

“It’s been hard,” Paarsmith said. “Really, thank you to Ali Oepping who has done a lot of the logistical planning for the Summer Reading Program. She puts together a lot of things.”

Paarsmith is looking forward to the arrival of the new children’s librarian, local first-grade teacher Shannon Schneider, who starts June 4.

Watch for the Summer Reading Program Schedule soon.