Libraries Kick Off Annual Summer Reading Program

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Submitted by Whatcom County Library System

The annual Summer Reading program for kids, teens and adults is underway at local public libraries. Pick up a Summer Reading card at Bellingham Public Library or Whatcom County Library System branches or download a card at the library systems’ websites, bellinghampubliclibrary.com/summer-reading or wcls.org/summer-reading. Cards are available in English, Punjabi, Russian and Spanish languages. The library systems’ Summer Reading program ends Aug. 31, 2022.

This year, community partner WECU will help to spread the word about Summer Reading. Thanks to the financial support of WECU, Friends of Bellingham Public Library, Friends of Whatcom County Library System groups and Whatcom County Library Foundation, young readers in Bellingham and Whatcom County will receive a free book at Summer Reading events.

“WECU is thrilled to be a part of the Summer Reading program this year,” said Keith Mader Program Manager PR & Content at WECU. “As a credit union founded by Bellingham Teachers, we understand the impact a vibrant summer reading program can have on a community. It is our hope that through our financial support, more children are inspired to read throughout the summer and able to hit the ground running when school starts up again.”

Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library System team up each year to provide summer reading engagement. There are two cards – one for readers of all ages and one for young children who are not yet reading. The front of each card is illustrated with stepping stones that participants can fill in however they like to track their summer reading. Side two of the pre-reader card features five early reading practices (reading, singing, talking, playing and writing) adults can follow to help young people in their lives to develop a love of reading. The back of the reader card has suggestions on how to participate in Summer Reading 2022. Readers will find inspiration on the library systems’ websites and social media accounts.

“Summer Reading is a great opportunity for the community to stay immersed in stories and information of their choosing over the summer,” said Bethany Hoglund, deputy director of Bellingham Public Library. “The Library is here to help. We want to support whatever each individual goal is for kids, teens and adults, and keep everyone’s brains active and engaged. We truly appreciate all the partners who help make Summer Reading possible.”

“Summer reading is all about the joy of reading,” said Thom Barthelmess, youth services manager at the Whatcom County Library System. “We want young people to know that reading belongs to them, that they can choose what and how they read. The reward is that at the end of the summer, adults and young people will discover that reading is one of the most meaningful activities we can undertake.”

Barthelmess and Hoglund stress that summer reading isn’t just about opening the pages of a book. “You can listen to a book, browse magazine articles, or watch movies and documentaries. It all counts,” Hoglund said. “And you can access all these resources for free at the library.”

The library systems also offer free activities to add to the Summer Reading experience.

Bellingham Public Library will host outdoor Library Parties in parks for children (birth to teenagers) where young readers will receive a free book, have a chance to talk with library staff about books, take a StoryWalk® and participate in other reading-inspired activities. The free events are 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, June 22 at Squalicum Park, and 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 at Cordata Park. More details atbellinghampubliclibrary.com/summer-reading . Summer Reading cards can be returned to any Bellingham Public Library branch to receive a free children’s book or yard sign.

Whatcom County Library System will host kickoff parties at each of its 10 branches and bookmobile stops Monday, June 27-Saturday, July 1. Find the dates and times for each event at wcls.org/summer-reading or at the library’s online event calendar. Library staff will distribute free books to young people, offer fun family crafts and share information about in-person summer programs. Drop by for a quick hello or stay awhile to meet fellow readers. At WCLS’s Summer Reading webpage(wcls.org/summer-reading), readers of all ages can find book recommendations as well as links to book clubs and other bookish experiences.For more information, about Summer Reading activities visit local libraries in person or the library systems’ websites: bellinghampubliclibrary.com/summer-reading or wcls.org/summer-reading. Families can also find pre-recorded virtual storytimes for children ages birth to 5 on the websites.

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