School is out!
Three words that evoke joy in the spirits of young children and fear in the hearts of parents everywhere.
It always starts off fine. But eventually, your kids will be moping around the house on lazy summer afternoons with nothing to do. Summer is time for fun outdoors. However, there will be rainy days as well as horrendously hot and humid days, which will have them stuck in the house.
A solution to this problem can be found at your local library…
Summer reading programs at libraries all over Northeast Wisconsin kicked off over the last week.
If you think your kids will oppose the idea of books and learning when they aren’t required to do so – think again. Local librarians know exactly what motivates kids to read. Prizes. Cool prizes. Lots of them.
A common theme at many locations this year is Dig Into Reading. You never know what kinds of treasures you’ll dig up when you pick up a good book.
The staff at the public library in the tight-knit community of Winneconne (about 20 minutes northwest of Oshkosh) is extremely proud of what happens there – especially in the summertime. Holly Selwitschka, the library’s director, says last year the number of visitors in June, July and August was 22% higher than other months. Events for kids are a big part of that.
“Children and families love the programs the library has to offer because we provide them with a safe, structured environment, and affordable family activities in which they can engage during the summer,” Selwitschka explains.
In addition to summer story times and special events, kids who visit the Winneconne Public Library can earn what they call “book bucks,” which can be redeemed for prizes.
“The benefits to readers who participate in the incentive program or our reading clubs include the development of reading as a life-long habit for recreation,” Selwitschka says. “Reluctant readers can be drawn in by the activities and discover that reading can be an engaging experience when you help them bring the stories to life.”
Selwitschka also says there is hard evidence that continuing to read when the school year ends helps kids stay on track.
“Children who practice reading throughout the summer maintain their skills and are more ready to learn in the fall than those who don’t pick up a book at all,” she says.
The special thing about summer reading is kids can explore whatever they want. Maybe there’s a career that interests them, an animal they want to learn about or a place in the world they’d like to visit someday. Maybe there are movies they love, but they’ve never read the books on which the films are based.
But books are just the beginning. There will be plenty for all ages to do at your local library this summer.
For instance, the Winneconne Public Library will have special performers every Wednesday in June and July.
There’s also a Lego Club and even a pet hedgehog named Winston. Not surprisingly – he’s a huge hit with the kids. Many libraries host regular movie nights and there are a wide variety of fun, educational classes for kids and adults too.
Selwitschka points out that your local library is more than just a place to borrow books. It’s an important part of your community.
“Libraries, through their programs and services, bring people together; they provide a central social, cultural, educational, and civic gathering place for their communities for people from all walks of life,” she says.
This is a special year for the Winneconne Public Library as it is marking it’s 100th Anniversary. There are plans for celebrations throughout the year. The official anniversary date is in the fall, and there will be a birthday bash for families on October 5th in conjunction with the village’s fall festival.
What Do you Love About Your Local Library?
Leave a comment below and tell us how the library has made a difference in your life. Tell us your memories of summer reading programs or favorite librarians from when you were a kid. We want to hear your stories!
Look for your local library below and click the links to get more information on area summer reading programs and other upcoming events.
Local Library Children’s Programs
- Brown County Library (For birth to 5th Grade)
- Brown County Library (For 6th Grade and Up)
- Appleton Public Library
- Winneconne Public Library
- Neenah Public Library
- Menasha Public Library
- Kaukauna Public Library
- Marinette County Library
- Oconto County Library
- Door County Library