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Library keeps minds running
Children participate in story time, educational activities
web 0713 Library 2
Children watch and listen as Garner reads aloud. Participants also provided animal sounds and clapped along with the stories. - photo by Danielle Hipps

Get involved

Liberty County Library upcoming events:

• Fun with Electricity: 11 a.m. today

• Magical Educator Chad Crews: 10:30 a.m. Monday

• Tree Tots Storytime: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday

• World Craft: 3 p.m. July 20

• Campfire Tales: 6:30 p.m. July 22

High-powered magnets, a Van de Graaff generator and plasma pens will serve as tools of the trade when retired U.S. Army captain and teacher Mike Clemmons introduces Hinesville children to the tenets of electricity today.

The program, fun with electricity at 11 a.m., is just one of the Hinesville library’s summer programs aimed to keep young minds churning during the summer months.

“We want to prevent them from experiencing what’s known as the ‘summer slide,’” Live Oak Public Libraries public relations coordinator Susan Lee said.

That’s why the library has a summer schedule full of educational entertainers and continues its annual summer reading program for all students in kindergarten through eighth grade, she said.

Research shows that children who read during the summer retain and often gain reading skills, while those who do not read often regress, Lee said, citing studies by Reading is Fundamental and Scholastic.

This year’s theme, “One World, Many Stories,” focuses on multicultural storytelling, according to Liberty County area coordinator Betsey Stow. Most of the summer performers at the library, including upcoming Chad Crews Magical Educator and past performer Fiddlin’ Dan the Mountain Man, incorporate the summer reading themes into their presentations.

“One of the things that I tell kids is that I learned by reading more than anything else,” Clemmons said about his presentation, which he hopes will excite children about learning.

“We want children to make the association that the library is a fun place,” Lee said. “A library card can take you anywhere — you may see a guy performing magic tricks or doing Jacob’s ladder, but you can also read a book and learn how to do it yourself.”

The library does just that, Hinesville mother Tina Henson said.  She and her children, Jewell, 13, and Chris, 6, visit the library at least twice per week during the summer. It allows her young son, Chris, amusement and the opportunity to interact with other children. For Jewell, who has read more than 20 books while completing the summer reading program, the trips foster a thriving reading habit.

“It’s pretty simple for me because all I do is read,” Jewell said. She thinks the program encourages other children to push their own reading boundaries, she said.

So far, 1,591 children in Hinesville have started the program, Stow said.

The program has three tiers, with rewards available for each tier met, Lee said.

Each child who turns in a reading card with 15 hours completed will receive a free book from Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Savannah and a summer reading coupon sheet with $80 in coupons for things like free treats at fast-food chains, discounted admission to Monkey Joe’s play center in Savannah and many discounted Savannah museum admissions. They also will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate from Savannah Mall.

The second tier of the program rewards children for reading 30 hours. Those who do will receive each of the perks for the first tier, another entry in the mall gift-card drawing and entry into a drawing for a two-night trip to Atlanta for a family of four, with tickets to the Fernbank Museum, World of Coca Cola, Georgia Aquarium and Zoo Atlanta.

Each of the library’s branches has one trip to give away, Lee said.

Prizes for finishing the third tier, 45 hours of reading, include three entries into the mall gift-card drawing, two entries into the Atlanta trip drawing and VIP status at the 2011 Savannah Children’s Book festival Nov. 19.

To qualify for the prizes, entry forms must be submitted by Aug. 19.

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