Living Columns & Blogs

From The Beacon: Summer reading kicks off at library

The heat has arrived, school buses will soon be in storage and the beach is beckoning -- summer is almost here. That also means it's time for the annual Summer Reading Program at the Beaufort County public library system. We have been hard at work planning and preparing for this exciting annual event.

According to the American Library Association, the annual Summer Reading Program began in the 1890s as a way to persuade school children to visit the library and develop lifelong reading habits. While it started as a way to promote literacy with children, the program has evolved over the past century into an enjoyable and worthwhile annual string of events in which all children, teens and adults can participate.

Funded by Beaufort County, our Friends of the Library groups and our Public Library Foundation, the official Summer Reading Program begins June 13th and concludes July 23rd. There will be branch-specific prizes and countywide grand prizes.

This year's overall Summer Reading theme is "Travel." So whether you have plans to escape to a faraway destination or stay here in the Lowcountry, the Beaufort County library branches will provide you and your family with plenty of materials to keep you busy -- regardless of your travel plans (or lack thereof).

"One World, Many Stories" is the theme for children ages 4 to grade five, and "You Are Here" is the theme for teens (grades 6 to 12). Each participant signs an agreement to read (or have read to them) a minimum number of books. A visit to the library once a week will earn them a small prize. Once they fulfill their agreement, they earn a certificate, medal and a chance at winning one of our grand prizes.

Children and teens can visit their branch library to register beginning Monday. Check with your local library's children's room for more information for both teen and children's Summer Reading programs.

"Novel Destinations" is the travelworthy theme for adults ages 18 and older. Adults can read whatever they choose and submit reviews. Each review gets one entry into the prize pool, and names will go into prize drawings at the respective branches. Adults may submit their reviews beginning June 13 (there's no need to register). This year, reviews can be submitted online or to your branch's reference desk. Blank book review forms are located at all branches. There are no limits to how many reviews participants can submit. Reviews must have a minimum of 50 words in order to be eligible for prizes. If participants are feeling extra creative, they can submit their reviews in poetry form.

Hours at our library branches in Hilton Head, Bluffton and Beaufort will be changing starting Monday, so check out our website or contact your local branch for more information on all of our upcoming events.

Traci Cox is a reference librarian at the Bluffton Branch of the Beaufort County Public Library, at 120 Palmetto Parkway.