For a child, visiting the Salina Public Library is more than about checking out a book. It’s where many children look forward to visiting during the summer, both for its programs and to see a familiar face.
Three-year-old Gus is notorious for running up to the Salina Public Library’s (301 W. Elm St.) counter excitedly. It’s where he, and children like him, receive a friendly welcome from staff who know their first names and remember the books they like to read.
“Gus is a big reader, so he enjoys going and picking out new books to bring home,” said his mother, Ashley Mills. "All the librarians know him, they really do get to know him and make him feel special.”
The reward is seeing how excited the children are to be at the library, said Marcus Petty, the head of marketing.
“There are very few feelings that match when you see the joy they have, it’s unbridled enthusiasm and curiosity,” he said.
Youth and adults alike can keep their reading skills sharp by reading or listening to a book and completing a form in person and online. The submission enters them in a weekly contest for a chance to earn a prize. Children who reach their reading program’s goal, get their photos displayed on the library’s wall and receive social media recognition.
Katie Snapp’s 9-year-old son Braxton appreciates discovering new chapter books to read.
“I like that it keeps him reading," Snapp said. "It’s fun for him. I love that the librarians are always there to help us out.”
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program incentivizes young readers to log books they’ve read and to eventually earn a t-shirt and certificate to celebrate their hard work.
Petty and his staff make sure the fun continues. There are several age-appropriate programs available when school is not in session.
“We have a full slate of ongoing programming scheduled for kids ages six months to high school age," he said. "We try to do our best to combat the Summer Slide.”
The library is hosting Book Worms & Water Bugs at Centennial Park from 10:15 - 11 a.m. on July 11. Kids from early childhood to age 5 are welcome to attend. No registration is required for the event that includes storytime, music and playtime at the splash pad.
Ongoing programs such as Lego® Club, Gaming, Tech Club, and Anime Club ensure that youth always have a fun atmosphere and new challenges to experience at the library. Youth technology programs give children the chance to learn coding and 3D design.
A full events schedule is available on the library’s website and can be filtered by age group from early childhood to adulthood.
For the parents of children who love the library and its programs, it’s equally rewarding for them.
“The library has helped me and the other moms around the community to get connected,” said Mills. She encourages other parents to sign their kids up for the library’s programs.
“Go for it, it’s inexpensive and fun. You don’t have anything to lose,” she said.
Snapp, a parent of two boys under the age of nine loves that her kids take advantage of opportunities to play learning games and connect with friends at the library.
“I just love our library," she said. "It’s a happy place.”
Library Summer Reading Book Suggestions
Picture Books for Pre-Readers
"Paletero Man" by Lucky Diaz
"I’m a Little Ice Cream" Truck by Margery Cuyler
"Pool Party" by Amy Duchene
"My Friend Ben and the Big Race" by Charles Beyl
"Millions of Maxes" by Meg Wolitzer
"I'm Growing Great" by Mechal Renee Roe
"Grumpy Monkey" by Suzanne Long
1st and 2nd Graders
"Elephant and Piggie series" by Mo Willems
"Jack series" by Mac Barnett
"Do You Like My Bike? (Hello, Hedgehog!)" by Norm Feuti
"New Shark in Town" by Davy Ocean
"Magic Tree House, series" by Mary Pope Osborne
"Mac Undercover (Kid Spy #1)" by Mac Barnett
"Dory Fantasmagory" by Abby Hanlon
"The Last Kids on Earth" (series) by Max Brallier
"Guts" by Raina Telgemeier
"The One and Only Bob" by Katherine Applegate
"Pie in the Sky" by Remy Lai
"Restart" by Gordon Korman
"The Watsons Go to Birmingham" by Christopher Paul Curtis
"Wings of Fire" (series) by Tui T. Sutherland
"The Girl Who Drank the Moon" by Kelly Barnhill
"Ali Cross" by James Patterson
"Coraline" by Neil Gaiman
"Becoming Muhammad Ali" by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander
This article originally appeared on Salina Journal: Salina Public Library entertains and teaches children