Many children will have the chance to discover "One World, Many Stories" at their local libraries this summer.
The "One World, Many Stories" program is the latest theme of an annual summer library program offered throughout the United States.
While there generally are some common elements for the program, such as suggested-reading lists and rewarding students who read, other activities and events all vary based on the library.
The magician “Melvin the Magnificent” (AKA Joe Goode) entertains at the Canajoharie Library on Tuesday.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor
Barbara Germain, the director of the Johnstown Public Library, said the summer reading clubs and other activities at the library are important.
"The months of July and August tend to be our busiest time of year," she said.
For the last several years, Germain said, the library has seen more than 2,000 children come in each year to participate in the summer programs.
At the Johnstown Public Library, there are two reading clubs: One for those who can read, and one for those who cannot and need to have someone read to them. The clubs are open to all participants, from those headed to pre-K to children entering eighth-grade in the fall, she said. Participants can register for the reading clubs by coming into the library or registering online.
Each child keeps track of their own progress, and records the information online or in their own folder, Germain said.
At an open house at the library Aug. 11, participants will get ice cream and cake. A certificate and a free book will be given to participants who read 10 books, and companion readers who had six books read to them.
The reading clubs are just part of the activities at the library this summer, however. There will also be events at the library, such as story times and Science at the Library programs. Books will be displayed relating to the events, Germain said, so children who are interested in a topic have the chance to read more about it.
Germain said the free program instills a joy of reading in children and helps them maintain their reading skills for when they go back to school.
John B. King Jr., the acting commissioner of the New York State Education Department, said summer reading programs help children maintain educational advances when they are not in school.
"Statistics point to the disappointing loss of learning that takes place when young people are not in school during the summer," he said in a news release. "By providing summer reading programs, the State Library and libraries throughout the state can provide young people and their parents with the tools necessary to ensure year-long learning success and cultivate a love of reading."
Barbara Madonna, the director of the Gloversville Public Library, said there will be the "One World, Many Stories" summer reading program for younger students and the related "You Are Here" program for teenagers.
This year, the reading programs will have bingo-style game cards. In place of the numbers on the card, she said, there will be book categories, such as people, dragons and travel. When a participant gets bingo on the card, they can turn it in to get a prize such as a Chamber Check or gift card.
There also is a list of movies based on books, Madonna said. It is a way to let participants know if they enjoy a film, she said, they may want to read the book to see if they enjoy that as well.
The reading programs run through Aug. 31, she said.
Given the good increase in circulation the library sees every year during the summer, Madonna said, the activities offered at the same time as the reading programs are given a lot of thought.
A new event this year is "CSI for Kids" at 6 p.m. July 25. Madonna said the activity, whose title is a reference to the popular "CSI" TV shows, will basically explain forensic science to children.
"In the past, we have offered programs based more on natural sciences," she said.
The Canajoharie Library also offers the programs "One World, Many Stories", for toddlers and children through grade 5, and "You Are Here," for children in grades 6 through 12.
Leah LaFera, the librarian at the Canajoharie Library, said children can register for the programs until they end late in August.
For the "One World, Many Stories" program, LaFera said, the library is playing up the international angle. The activities will include a "Travel to China" event, which will feature stories, crafts and snacks from China. There also will be an international potluck dinner.
"We are encouraging kids to explore the world and other cultures," LaFera said.
For teens, LaFera said, she is particularly excited about "Teen Iron Chef" on July 12. Teams of two teens will take ingredients, some they will recognize and some for other cultures, and try to prepare a dessert in 30 minutes. Three local "celebrity judges" will decide the winner.
For the reading programs, LaFera said, books are recommended, but participants read on their own and keep track of their progress.
The "One World, Many Stories" participants count their minutes and keep track of them on a sheet in the library. For every 2 hours they read they can get a prize, such as stickers, pencils or a Chinese hand fan.
The program for older children works differently, LaFera said. Everything they read is worth a certain number of points. At a part at the end of the program Aug. 23, they will get raffle tickets based on the number of points they earned. They can then enter drawings for prizes, such as gift cards and T-shirts.