Library cultivates summer bookworms

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Children gather outside North Suffolk Library at 2011’s summer reading program launch. The Suffolk School Library System has a host events and activities planned for this year’s program, which enables children to earn prizes and certificates for reading.

The Suffolk Public Library System will launch its children’s summer reading program with a fun event at North Suffolk Library on Saturday.

The free, all-ages event from 10 a.m. to noon will include “fun games, cool door prizes, and face painting,” according to the library website, and visitors can sign up for the 2012 program, which is also free.

Children’s Service Coordinator Sarah Newton said the library system has already held a “soft opening” for the program, but that the weekend’s event should build some excitement and get the community more involved.


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While most registrations so far have been for younger children, library staff would like to see more 8- to 12-year-olds sign on, she said.

“The summer reading program has been going on for over 30 years,” she said. “It started with 40 kids in 1978, and now we have an average of 1,700. We really work hard to build not only a love of reading, but also of being active in the community.”

To successfully complete the program, a child must register at any Suffolk library and pick up a reading log, read at least eight books at his or her grade level (magazines, newspapers and books on tape also accrue credit), and record all titles on the reading log.

Completed reading logs are returned to the library between July 30 and Aug. 11, when prizes and certificates can be collected.

Additionally, children not yet of reading age can also participate; parents just have to read to them. When families read together, each child earns credits.

Under the program, the library system is also planning other events and activities for children and families.

While a full list of these events can be found at, examples include, at North Suffolk Library, a family game night on July 2, a visit by the Flow Circus Jugglers on July 25, and Pamela Bomboy, musical storyteller, on Aug. 8.

At Morgan Memorial Library, folk singer Charles Pettee will drop in on July 18, Mark Daniel, magical storyteller, will visit on Aug. 1, and the Kay-Dee Puppets will perform on Aug. 8.

At the Chuckatuck Library, the Virginia Living Museum’s Mammal Mania will visit on July 26.

“A lot of the events happen at the North Suffolk Library, because most children’s staff are there, but we serve the other Suffolk libraries,” Newton said.

“You don’t have to be from Suffolk. We love seeing Chesapeake, Franklin, Portsmouth and even Virginia Beach families come out. We pack a lot into our summer.”