Reading comes to life

CJ Warson · Wednesday, July 5, 2017
The West Liberty Public Library was packed full of kids Wednesday morning, June 28, as it kicked off the first day of the 2017 Summer Reading Program.

To start the first day of the four week event, kids got to look at and pet some exotic wild animals.

The animals were just the first of a few different upcoming events revolving around the theme for this year’s program, which is “Build a Better World”.

“We’re going to branch out in a couple different ways,” said Deb Lowman, Library Director. “One week we’ll look at construction. Another week we’ll look at how to take care of our environment.”

“Another week we’re going into the vein of our community to look at all the different ways that we as children and adults can build a better world around us,” she added.

The library welcomed animal caregiver Lacey Claborn to the library for opening day as she brought multiple creatures.

“So usually about once a year we reach out to a program and go at it from an educational point,” Lowman said. “It’s also nice to bring out an animal program for families and children, where you feature exotic pets because often times they’re desirable pets, but they’re not always the best pets.”

This year it was the Wild Times Exotics Zoo’s turn, coming three and a half hours away from Springfield, Illinois.

This wasn’t any ordinary zoo. Even though the zoo is located in one place, the animals come to you. The zoo traveles to any state surrounding Illinois.

“Our zoo is not open to the public. We only bring the zoo to you. We do birthdays, daycares, libraries, schools and any public or private event that would be appropriate for our animals to be at,” Claborn said.

The West Liberty Public Library isn’t the only library building “A Better World.” Other libraries in the state and nation are doing the same theme.

That’s because most of the state of Iowa, and many other states, participated in the Collaborative Summer Reading Program, which was a national non-profit.

The organization sets the theme, and they also help give ideas and materials for programming posters.

That’s not to say the Summer Reading Program in West Liberty is a carbon copy of every body else. No way, West Liberty’s reading program has always been unique.

“Ultimately, our goal for the summer is to keep the kids’ reading,” Lowman said. “All of the research shows that you have to continue to read over summer or you get summer loss. Kids can actually step backwards in their reading ability.”

Accordingly the library keeps the fun events going during the summer while encouraging everyone to keep on reading.

WLPL divides all their summer readers into different age groups, including young children, middle school and then teen and adults.

However, the library doesn’t only want to focus on reading, it also wants members to focus on writing once they turn from a ‘family reader’ to an ‘independent reader.’

When they’re done with a book, readers can fill out a book review. It doesn’t have to be about the book exactly, but something to encourage the next reader.

Readers can then trade their review sheet for a slip that they put in the drawing for weekly prizes.

They’ll accumulate the weekly drawings and give away some larger prizes at the end of summer.

If you’re interested, the Summer Reading Program has begun now and will only continue until the end of July.

For kids, the program will include an ‘Almost Summer Campout’ on July 14, and a Deep Lake Adventure in Muscatine on July 28.

Next week they have a water science lab with Iowa State planned. The week after, the West Liberty Police Department will teach bike safety.

The West Liberty Public Library also wants to remind adults that the summer reading program isn’t just for kids, but them as well. Learn more at WLPL.org.
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