Joplin library launches summer program with focus on waterways

·2 min read

Jun. 1—Registration for an annual summer reading program at Joplin Public Library opened Tuesday with a bit more excitement than usual.

"It was the reintroduction of guest presenters," said Christina Matekel-Gibson, head of the children's department. "We have not had them here for the last couple of summers, so it will be fun to bring them in."

The library opened registration for its "Oceans of Possibilities" summer reading program, which includes games, concerts and other special programs until the program ends July 24. The activities are organized around a reading challenge that rewards participants for how many books they read during the summer.

The return of the program has already brought back past participants, who are excited for the annual marathon.

"For a lot of families and patrons, it's a summer tradition," Matekel-Gibson said. "A lot of people come in on the first day school is out and stock up on books to get registered. It has been super-fun to see."

The theme matches one chosen by Collaborative Summer Library Program, a national organization that compiles and develops resources libraries can use. While Joplin doesn't have much connection to the ocean, there are plenty of waterways readers can dive into.

Some of the programs reflect that influence, Matekel-Gibson said. The programs include visits from the Shoal Creek Conservation and Education Center, and the KISS Rebreathers, a group of divers working to map the Roaring River Spring and eventually reach its bottom — something that hasn't yet been found in 472 feet of depth.

Participants, divided into three age groups, read books and track them through an app. As participants reach reading goals, they become eligible for prizes.

The library is working with the city of Joplin for the program:

—Riding passes are available for the Sunshine Lamp Trolley upon signup.

—Children who complete their first gameboard can receive a free, single-use pass to one of the city's swimming pools.

More information can be found on the library's website, www.joplinpublic library.org.