Kilgore Public Library’s "Fizz! Boom! Read!" summer reading packet is a hot commodity: available now to pint-sized patrons, on Monday more than 100 children signed up for the library’s annual slate of June and July challenges.
According to children’s librarian Janet Marley, KPL typically sees about 450 children sign up for the summer reading club – this year’s registration continues through June 13 – and hundreds pack the Kilgore Community House for free fun-but-educational events throughout the summer.
“We’ve had years when people have signed up for things and we’ve had people wrapped around the building basically,” Marley said.
The free reading club is targeted to children, but teens are welcome to participate as well through the teen room at KPL, and they’re welcome at the four Community House events (June 12 and 19, July 10 and 17) and one outdoor activity at Kilgore City Park (June 26).
Recruiting for summer 2014, KPL staffers reminded parents, “One of the simplest joys in life is the love of reading. Books can take us to faraway places, to exciting lands of our own imagination’s making. Books can make us laugh; they can make us cry; they can invigorate and inspire. Be your child’s tour guide to the exciting land of literature!” The librarians reminded children that beyond the activities of the summer’s six reading packets, “the most important thing is you will be asked to READ! You can read magazines, newspapers, books from a school reading list, or any book that you like! The main thing is … READ!”
Marley compared the six activity packets to “Highlights” magazine, full of games and reading-centered activities. The library has set-up incentives for children to complete the challenges.
Participants have two weeks to complete each packet – finishing Level One (packets 1 and 2), the child will receive one day pass to Kilgore City Pool as well as an entry in the annual bicycle drawing. Completing Level Two (packets 3,- 4) nets another pool pass, another bicycle entry and a coupon for a small snow cone from Charlie’s Sno-Ball. Turning in Level Three (packets 5-6) earns one more pool pass, a drawing entry and a free book.
The bicycle drawing (for a new bike, helmet and accessories donated by the Friends of the Library organization) will be held Monday, July 28, and the winner will be notified by phone and/or mail.
Beyond the core reading elements, KPL has scheduled a diverse series of free summertime entertainment at the community house (622 Kay Street).
Kicking off the programs, Professor Brainius (a.k.a. Scott Logan) will perform his “wild and wacky” science show at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 12.
“He brings science to life,” Marley said, one of the top-rated performers in the Metroplex (see ProfessorBrainius.com). “First of all, he dresses the part: the mad scientist outfit. He does a lot of visual experiments for the kids to realize that science can be fun.
“They’re going to be learning things but they’re not going to realize they’re learning.”
KPL’s second event – ‘Crocodile Encounters’ – pulls performers from the Houston area for a 10 a.m. show Thursday, June 19.
“They promised to bring a few,” Marley said. “This will be a first for us – we’ve had snakes and every kind of insect you can imagine, but we’ve not had a crocodile yet.”
For June 26, KPL will take its young participant outdoors to Kilgore City Park for a 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. face-to-face with Kilgore emergency responders.
An annual tradition, “The kids get hands-on in their vehicles,” Marley explained. “They get to talk to the officers, public servants in a way that they might not normally.”
Percussionist Mark Shelton is always a favorite, she added, returning for a “highenergy, fast-paced” jam session at 10 a.m. July 10 – preview Shelton’s on YouTube work via tinyurl.com/MarkSheltonDemo.
For the final performance of the season, professional yo-yo and spin top champion Valerie Oliver will present her ‘Whirled on a String’ show July 17.
“She is amazing,” Marley said. “She’s won several awards and after you see her perform you understand how that happens.”
Find more on Oliver at Spintastics.com.
KPL also offers two storytime sessions per week for pre-schoolers at 10 a.m. Tuesday for 4- and 5-year-olds and 10 a.m. Wednesday for 2- and 3-year-olds.
“We’re always excited about the summer,” Marley said. “We start out really excited and then we’re really tired by the end of it, but it’s a good tired.”
Contact the library at 903-984-1529, search “Kilgore Public Libary” on Facebook or visit cityofkilgore.com/library.