By Megan Miller, Editor
CLAY — The Clay Public Library is holding its summer reading kickoff on Saturday June 4 from 2-4 p.m.
Most summer library programs typically focus on children, but Library Director Holly Flores is making a point to incorporate toddlers, teens and adults into this year’s program.
There will be children’s programs on most Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer, featuring activities like Bricks for Kids, a balloon artist, a lesson from the McWane Science Center, and of course, reading.
The newly added toddler program will include sing-a-longs and story telling.
“Up until now there’s really been nothing for toddlers,” said Flores. “We’ve had a really good response to it thus far.”
“The Science Lady” will be doing programs for teens, and there will also be teen and adult coloring nights, most of which will also have refreshments. There is an adult craft night planned in June where participants will make a no sew t-shirt bag, which can be used for groceries, diaper bags or car trash bags.
While the Clay Library is incorporating a number of unique activities on their summer calendar, the big focus is on reading for all ages. During the summer reading kickoff children, teens and adults can register to participate in the reading program, where they will receive a packet containing a reading long. On each log, readers will list all JCLC Library books checked out at Clay Library that they read or read to a younger child starting the day of kickoff.
Beginning on June 10, children ages birth to 12-years-old can bring their reading logs in to be signed, provided they have read three books, or have had three books read to them. When they bring in their logs to be signed, they can choose a prize, and they will also receive an entry into the children’s grand prize drawing. For children already reading chapter books, two chapters equates to one book, so those who read six chapters read per week will receive a prize.
Teens and adults must complete one book in order to have their reading logs signed, and can also receive one prize per week, or they can choose to instead enter for one of the grand prizes, which will be drawn for on July 29. Teens must be 13-years-old by August 1, 2016 to participate as a “teen” for the summer reading program. All teens and adults are required to read from the teen or adult sections of the library.
Flores has been at the Clay Public Library for almost a year, and said that there have been many changes over the course of the last year, including increased patronage by 500 people per month. The library is also now open seven days per week, where it used to close on Wednesday and Sunday.
Flores comes to the Clay Public Library after having worked at the Trussville Public Library for six years and after a stint teaching at Clay-Chalkville Middle School.
Native to the Clay area, the Clay Public Library has been the perfect fit for Flores.
Flores said the most exciting part of working at the Clay Library so far has been the community garden they started on site. There was already a grassy, fenced in space that the library staff had been trying to find a use for, and one library employee suggested they use the space for a garden.
“Summer reading this year is sports, nutrition and fitness themed, and people have really latched onto the idea,” said Flores. “A member on our board loves gardening and is an expert in it, and this was the perfect fit for the spot we had.”
Flores said there were 98 people that showed up to plant the garden, and there have been between 8 and 10 families that have consistently come by to check on it and care for it regularly. The garden currently contains green peppers, banana peppers, tomatoes, squash, onions, strawberries, blueberries, radishes, beets and various flowers.
“The intent was that if you take care of it, then when it blooms, you can harvest from it,” Flores said. “The kids are excited, and it keeps them coming, but they’re also learning. Hopefully through the years it will continue to grow.”
For a full calendar of upcoming library events, click here.