Hayden It is once again time for summer fun at the Hayden Public Library. The Summer Reading Program kicks off today.
Children can come to the library Wednesdays in July to talk about what they have been reading, give recommendations to their peers, and hear the recommendations of the library staff on a variety of new books.
"We have so many nice new things I think they're not aware of," library staff member and former Hayden schoolteacher Roberta Pero said. "Usually it takes some input to get them going. So, hopefully their input and ours will generate some interest."
Pero and library director Jacquie Boyd said the main goal of the program is to generate children's interest in the library.
"We have a lot of regulars, but we need some new ones," Pero said.
Another goal is to have children read at least six books over the summer, because experts say it takes reading six books to maintain the reading level achieved from the previous school year, Pero said.
The library staff will host book talks for students in grades three through five at 2 p.m., and for grades six through eight at 3 p.m. every Wednesday in July.
The person presenting a recommended book will read excerpts from the book and share a little bit about its plot, but not enough to give the story away, in hopes the children will take interest, check the books out and read them.
Many of the books that will be presented are part of a series, Pero said, "because it seems like once they've gotten started, there's no stopping them from reading the entire series."
The most popular series now, even among adults, is the "Harry Potter" series.
There is a high demand for the books, especially with the release of the fifth book, "Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix," Boyd said. The Hayden Public Library has four copies of each book in the series, but they are rarely on the shelves.
To check out the latest book, visitors must sign a waiting list, Boyd said.
With the popularity of the Harry Potter series, and the focus of the library on urging children to read, the library will host a "Potter Party" celebrating Harry Potter's birthday and his adventures at its final meeting at 2 p.m. July 30.
Even though Harry Potter's fictional birthday is July 31, Boyd said she thought it would be easier to keep meetings on Wednesdays.
For younger children in preschool to second grade, the library offers Summer Picnic Reading, in which they can color pictures of picnic items after reading about certain subjects or reading in specific places.
For example, children can color a picture of a chicken leg after reading "The Story of Chicken Little" or color a hotdog after reading about "a big red dog."
A party will be held 2 p.m. Aug. 27 to give the youngsters plenty of time to fill their "picnic basket" with items confirming what they have read.
Third- through fifth-graders can also participate in a more advanced aspect of the picnic theme, the "Summer Reading Challenge," in which they are given topics and have to find books in the library that cover those topics.
The Summer Reading Program has been going strong for more than 25 years, Boyd said.
"We're excited we've been able to draw as many as we do, especially considering all the sports activities going on," Boyd said. "We want to keep the interest with the library strong."