Summer programs taking shape

We welcome you back to the library for the 2021 Summer Reading Program. Many of our programs will be held in-person this summer in Huntington Park so it will be quite different from last year. We are all very happy to meet face-to-face again. All COVID-19 safety precautions will be followed. This year’s theme,  Tails and Tales, will feature fun with animals, fish, and maybe even mermaids.

The kick-off to summer reading will be a walk-through event in Huntington Park on Friday, June 25, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Every child who registers either before or at the event will receive a backpack full of goodies. BJ the Balloon Twister will distribute balloon animals and library staff will have a special Take & Make Kit for registrants. Kids will also earn a raffle ticket for attending, so there’s no way to lose this summer.

Youths will register on READsquared again because of the success and popularity of the platform last year. After a child creates an account, they can track their reading and record other activities to earn points. Of course, points lead to prizes, which we hope adds extra incentive to keep your kids reading!

Weekly programs will be held online and in-person, and we have some exciting special events too. Look for a Story Walk, one of our most popular programs in Huntington Park. A Make Your Own Stuffed Animal program with Noah’s Ark Animal Workshop will be held in Wilber Park.

At Neahwa Park, we’re doing a What’s My Tail? program that is a fun, interactive lift-flap activity and participants will take home a craft at the end. A Kite Making program that includes STEAM concepts will be held in Neahwa Park too.

Back at the Huntington Park, we’re creating a Sidewalk Obstacle Course. It will include activities like walk like a penguin, hop like a frog, and jump like a kangaroo.

The Summer Reading Program will end with a chance to meet real live snakes with Dan the Snakeman and an awards party in Huntington Park.

Our STEAM programs have moved mostly to in-person and I’m most looking forward to the Skype a Scientist program with an aquatic ecologist. We’re offering a Live Like an Animal program, where kids will use animal adaptations and shelters as inspiration to design a structure for humans to use.

Another program is called Aviary Architect, and kids will compete to build the bird house roof that keeps its bird the coolest under the summer sun. They’ll use a variety of materials along with state-of-the-art heating and temperature monitoring equipment. There will also be several STEAM Ahead To Go kits that may be picked up at the library.

The Camera Capture Program will supply kids with a free digital camera and ticket to the Utica Zoo. Kids can spend all summer taking pictures of animals (that have a tail of course) at the zoo, in the backyard, or on other summer adventures! In August, they’ll return the camera to the library where we will develop the photos for them and even share their best shots with the community. Who knows? Maybe we’ll create a calendar if we get 12 great pictures.

As always, we include adults in our Summer Reading Program. Look for the Reading Raffle as well as bingo sheets. The Writers Group will meet in July, so if you’ve ever considered expanding your skills, this is a welcoming, inclusive group that fosters writers of all levels. We’ll even have some prizes for the grown-ups.

There’s so much more so subscribe to our HML Happenings eNewsletter, follow us on Facebook, and check out our website for dates and details.

Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Tina Winstead is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Tuesday and are online at ity/library_corner.

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