Library kicking off summer reading program

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

Children and adults alike can dive into books, and rewards, this summer with Portales Public Library’s water-themed summer reading programs.

The library has separate programs for adults, sixth- through 12th-graders and children younger than sixth-grade.

“I think the benefit for the kids is it keeps them reading over the summer so they don’t lose it before they go back to school,” said library Circulation Supervisor Tawna Luscombe.

Children can also read what they want and have fun, she said.

Luscombe said the “Make a Splash” program for children younger than sixth grade will offer activities Monday through Friday, except for the week of July 4. Children will get rewards such as pool passes and toys for reading two hours every week, as well, she said.

“We’re looking for quality, not quantity,” Luscombe said, explaining that younger children could also receive credit for being read to or listening to audiobooks.

For sixth- through 12th-graders, the “Make Waves” program offers book discussions, crafts, water-themed movies and popcorn, and other activities. For every two hours they read, teenagers can put their names into a drawing for a prize.

Assistant Librarian Danielle Swopes said the first-ever adults summer reading program, “Water Your Mind,” involves reading for incentives and two book discussions.

Swopes said the program is particularly good for adults with children.

“It’s encouraging the kids to read by reading yourself,” she said. “It’s setting an example for the kids.”

Families could attend activities and work on projects together, Swopes continued.

Even for adults without children, Swopes said, she believes more reading strengthens them as people and helps them continue to think and reason. She said the program also gets adults involved in the community.

Adults who complete their reading logs will receive rewards and be able to put their names into a drawing for an iPod Shuffle, she said.

One planned book discussion covers “The Secret Knowledge of Water” by anthropologist and environmental conservationist Craig Childs, whose work often focuses on the Southwest. Swopes said the library would have a podcast featuring Childs.

People can sign up to participate any time after the programs start, except that librarians ask children to register in advance for the science projects so they can have the right amount of supplies.