Summer reading program to kick off with party at Lawrence Public Library

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As school ends this week, the Lawrence Public Library is celebrating the launch of its summer reading program with a party on the library lawn.

The event is set for 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday. “All Together Now” is the summer reading program’s theme, and Carswell and Hope, a local alternative rock band, will play Beatles covers from 7 to 8 p.m. 

“We’re excited for the beginning of summer,” children’s librarian Jenny Cook said. “It looks like we’re going to have a beautiful day and we will get to listen to some nice music together.”

There will also be free snow cones from Kona Ice. Eileen’s Cookies and JB’s Tacos will sell food, and Free State Brewing Company will have beer for purchase. 

“It’s so nice to come together and celebrate,” Cook said. “Summer reading is so special to so many people.”

The summer reading program, which runs through August 18, features eight weeks of activities, including a Lego building party, a mad science show, a carnival day, a scavenger hunt, a story stroll, an art party — and of course, reading. To sign up for the event, you can create an account on Beanstack or fill out a form available at the library. 

The program is open to four age groups: preschool and under, kindergarten through fifth grade, sixth through 12th grade and adults. 

To complete the summer reading challenge, preschoolers must log 30 books; kindergartners through 12th graders must log 20 hours or read 10 books; and adults must log 30 hours or 10 books. 

Prizes include a free book, a cookie from Eileen’s and a day pass for the Lawrence Outdoor or Indoor Aquatic Center. 

The summer reading program is designed to motivate young readers to “learn, connect, create, and grow their brains” during the summer, according to the library. It helps prevent the “summer slide.” Children who participate in high-quality summer programs improve in reading and math performance, according to the National Summer Learning Association, while also building social and emotional skills.

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Chansi Long (she/her) reported for The Lawrence Times from July 2022 through August 2023. Read more of her work for the Times here.

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