All of Elkhart County's local libraries have reading programs for kids and teens this summer. Some even have them for adults.
It's important for kids and young adults to keep up their reading and language skills during the summer months so they go back to school ready to pick up where they left off.
The libraries are helping to encourage reading by providing incentives and allowing kids to set goals for themselves for prizes. The gifts range from books to tickets to Chicago's Shedd Aquarium and other locations, depending on the library. A couple of libraries are rewarding participants with an end-of-the-program party where they can use accumulated tickets to play games. The Goshen library teen program is having field trips that match up with its "Food for Thought" theme.
At some local libraries, adults can get into the act, too.
The Goshen and Nappanee libraries also are offering those who don't have access to library service in their communities to do so at a very low cost.
In Nappanee, each child who registers and participates in the summer reading program gets a free summer reader library card to check out printed materials.
Goshen has non-resident summer cards available for $2.50 per student or $5 per family.
This is a great opportunity for people who are underserved to take advantage of library service for a low-cost, at least for the summer months.
It's almost unthinkable in 2010 that there are still areas of Elkhart County where people don't have free access to a library system.
Libraries aren't the quiet, stuffy places you might think they are. They are hubs of community activity where the staff is eager to help you find material that will match your interest. There are book clubs and other groups who meet there on a regular basis.
Of course, you can always find a quiet corner to curl up and read, too.
Take advantage of what your local library has to offer this summer. For more information on each program and a list of the "hot books" this summer, check out "Summer reading can be sweet" on eTruth.com: http://www.etruth.com/Know/News/Story.aspx?id=516210.