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Each year, we work within a general theme for the Summer Reading Program, and this year's is 'Read Beyond the Beaten Path.'

PMG FILE PHOTO - April Witteveen, Crook County Library DirectorIt's June at the library, which means staff have been busy getting ready for our annual Summer Reading Program. We are excited for a return to "business as normal" in 2022, with our fun reading challenges and a full slate of engaging special events for all ages.

We want to everyone in Crook County to build a reading habit this summer, so to participate in the reading challenge, you just need to read for at least 15 minutes a day. Reading means so many things -- enjoying a print book or downloaded eBook, listening to audiobooks, reading your favorite news site online or catching up on that list of podcasts you've been saving for a road trip. Little kids develop a passion for books and reading on the laps of their loved ones, so don't forget to track the time you spend sharing stories, whether reading or listening. Come visit us in person or on our website for the information you need to get started.

Each year, we work within a general theme for the Summer Reading Program, and this year's is "Read Beyond the Beaten Path." The theme naturally lends itself to reading about new or different experiences and finding adventure in your reading. Never hiked to the peak of Mt. Everest? A book can bring you there! Curious about leveling up your camp cooking skills this summer? We can help!

Public libraries are committed to the idea of offering "mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors," as described by literature professor Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop in 1990: "Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection, we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience."

Why do we dedicate significant resources to such a program? Studies have shown that for students, the summer months can be a time of learning loss. Without reading practice or exposure to other educational experiences, youth can lose some of the progress they made over the school year, a situation known as "the summer slide." When the new school year rolls around, these students are not primed to jump back into learning. Enter the library's summer reading program: a free, high-value series of activities connected to maintaining (or increasing!) a student's literacy and engagement with the library. We extend our thanks to The Friends of the Library for supporting the Summer Reading Program again this year.

We are eager to see patrons of all ages get involved in summer reading; everyone can receive free books and enter weekly drawings as well as earn tickets for some exciting grand-prize drawings at the conclusion of the program in August. Come explore your library this summer!

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