Libraries to offer exciting programs for summer

By MARLAN JONES,

The Mendenhall and Magee Public libraries are gearing up for their summer reading programs.

The annual summer reading program gives children and parents alike the opportunity to have fun at their local library throughout the entire summer.  Games, puzzles, contests, and special guests will be scheduled throughout the summer.

The theme for this year’s summer library program is “A Universe of Stories.” The program will have a space theme, and performers and teachers will give facts about the universe throughout the summer.

The Magee Public Library will kick off its program June 3 and finish on July 13. Magee Children’s Librarian Matt Pudas explained that the program is hosted every year and it is not just for children. He said the Summer Library Program includes activities for the entire family.

Registration for the program is now open. This year the library will be utilizing the Beanstack app, which is available for all platforms to assist parents with registering kids. Beanstack is described as a Fitbit for reading. Once registered, parents will be able to keep track of how many books their child has read and even leave reviews. It will be convenient for students who keep a summer reading log for the next school year.

Pudas said the library will be giving away age appropriate prizes for participants who meet the reading goals. The goal for preschool through 8th grade is five books. The goal is three books for older participants.

Each level has a chance at different rewards such as prize baskets and gift cards. Pudas explained that once readers reach the initial reading goal their names are entered into a drawing for one of the grand prizes. Each additional book or activity  attended adds the reader’s name to the basket again for an increased chance to win.

Pudas said, “We warn the adults that it may get a little loud in the summer. It’s one of our favorite times of the year. It’s a lot more active. It keeps you moving and keeps you going.” The summer program will be more interactive than ever.

Mendenhall Library will also be using Beanstack to register. Branch Manager Rhoda Benton said that once registered, participants can come by the library and pick up a registration bag welcoming them to the summer program. She said there will be plenty of prizes to be won, and she issued reading a challenge to the community, a goal to check out 5,000 books over the six week duration of the program. Progress will be tracked on a bulletin board for everyone to see.

She also issued an attendance challenge in which families will have a punch card that keeps track of the events they have attended. Once the card is full the participant’s name will be entered into a drawing for a grand prize.

Benton said, “The main thing is to keep kids involved in reading. It’s important so they don’t lose their knowledge. It keeps their brains working over the summer.”

There will also be some returning crowd favorites. Everyone’s favorite jokester, Inky the Clown, will be returning as a main attraction during the summer in Mendenhall and Magee.

Snakeman Terry Vandeventer will also return with his reptile friends to both locations, as well as Freedom Ranch presenting Birds of Prey.

Magic Lady Dianne Butler will perform at the Magee library on July 2 and promises that “you’ll be amazed.” MS Blood Services will be present on June 3, and friends from the Hattiesburg Zoo on June 13 at the Mendenhall Library. Steel Drummin’ Mitch Warner will also be returning to the Mendenhall Library.

These events appeal to the entire family, and are educational for all.

The Mendenhall Library’s summer events  would not have been made possible, Benton said,  without donations from the following local businesses: MS Children’s Museum, MS Farm Bureau, MS Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, MS Museum of Art, Peoples Bank of Mendenhall, Chancery Clerk Tommy Joe Harvey, Cox and Palmer, Booth’s Discount Tires, Senator Chris Caughman, Richard and Ruth Rankin, Big D’s Pawn Shop, Sheila’s Club House, S & L Construction, REAL Christian Foundation, District Attorney Matt Sullivan, Howard Industries, McGuffee Drugs, City of Mendenhall, Mendenhall Friends of the Library, and multiple anonymous donors.

Sponsors for the Magee Library are as follows: Fast Pace Urgent Care, Angela’s, Tillman Furniture, Tyson, MS Sports Hall of fame and Museum, Peoples Bank, PriorityOne Bank, MS Children’s Museum, Trustmark, and the Magee Friends of the Library

For more information call the Mendenhall Public Library at 601-847-2181 or Magee Library at 601-849-3747, or visit their website at www.cmrls.lib.ms.us