Libraries Rock with Summer Reading

A young Summer Reader feeds a tortoise at the Healthy Kids Day kickoff at Maynardville Public Library.

It's that time of year again.

Time for Union County's libraries to welcome that onslaught of kids, fun, laughs, and excitement known as Summer Reading. Both Luttrell and Maynardville libraries will host Summer Reading this year, with opportunities for prizes, food and great programs at each.

Maynardville Public Library director Chantay Collins said this will be her 18th year of Summer Reading. The program started with about 25 children taking part and has grown to about 400. Luttrell has been doing Summer Reading every year since the new library opened in 2007, hosting about 50 readers each summer.

Kids who participate in summer reading track the number of pages they read and are entered into prize drawings based on the amount of reading they get done over the summer.

"We're trying to get those kids to read, read, read," said Todd. "It's important because we take up that slack when the school session is out, to keep those kids engaged in reading until school starts again. It's also about finding a safe place in the summer for community gathering. Instead of the kids getting into trouble, they're setting goals and being productive."

"Last year, we had a little girl in Pre-K come in and say, 'I'm going to read this summer. I'm going to learn to read.' And now she's reading on a second grade level and is in Pre-K," said Collins. "It's just watching those kids learn the magic of books. Those kids who have struggled in school and they don't like to read, and it clicks when they find a book that works for them, that's the fun thing for us."

Both libraries are running the "Libraries Rock!" theme, with plenty of programs and activities planned around the theme.

At Luttrell, programs are Tuesdays at 1 p.m. and Fridays at 11 a.m., with some "wild Wednesdays" thrown in. Programs include:

1 p.m. June 5, magician Michael Messing.
11 a.m. June 8, live music plus a double-lane inflatable slide (reschedule from rained-out kickoff).
1 p.m. June 12, Jason and Company ventriloquist and balloonist.
11 a.m. June 13, Cattywampus Puppet Council puppet show and puppet making.
11 a.m. June 15, Science Guy Mr. Rich.
1 p.m. June 19, Water Day with a water slide, water guns, bubbles and more.
11 a.m. June 22, The Dirt on Rocks by The Muse Knoxville.
June 29, Awards Day.

Luttrell will host storytime at 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays, plus 12:30 p.m. Fridays. Mojo the Reading Beagle will visit the library some Tuesdays and Fridays, too. The Luttrell Elementary School cafeteria will provide lunch at noon every Tuesday and Friday.

"The staff and I are just excited to have the kids come in and have a good time and go on adventures in their books," said Todd. "We're busy preparing. We promote lifelong learning and creativity. I hope those who have never visited our library would do so. If someone has never used the library at any time of the year, they just don't know what they are missing. All are welcome."

At Maynardville Public Library, storytimes are Tuesdays and Thursdays with breakfast provided by ETHRA at 10 a.m., and Lego Club every Tuesday 4-5 p.m. Programs are 1 p.m. every Friday, with lunch provided at 12:30 p.m. Maynardville's Summer Reading kicked off last Saturday with Healthy Kids Day. Programs include:

June 8, Union County Sheriff's Office K-9s.
June 15, Science Guy Mr. Rich.
June 22, dance and crafts.
June 29, making puppets and puppet shows.
July 6, Mr. Berry and Sam the Turtle.
July 12, last day to turn in tickets.
July 14, Awards Day at 10 a.m. with 100-foot slip-n-slid, watermelon and summer fun.

Also, Collins said not to forget the Union County Veterans kids fishing rodeo June 16, at Big Ridge State Park.

"We're going to be rocking it out," said Collins. "There's going to be a lot of music played this year. We're going to teach kids to enjoy books. Kids just need to slow down a little and enjoy what they're reading and comprehend what they're reading and find out books are fun. We do bribe them to read, but they get to where they really enjoy it. It's not just about the prizes."

Info: www.luttrelllibrary.org, or www.maynardvillepubliclibrary.org, or search either library on Facebook.

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