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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Library is the place for summer fun

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Some of the children watch in amazement as the magician makes various objects disappear.
(T-G Photo by Micky Pietkiewicz) [Order this photo]
Fizz, Boom, Read. That's the sound of summer for many Bedford County children. Most kids look forward to not having any homework during their summer vacation. However, Bedford County's children are different when it comes to what they want to do with their sweet summertime. They want to read -- for fun!

There are almost 600 Bedford County children enrolled in the Argie Cooper Public Library's summer reading program. The program is for any child in Bedford County who is 12 or younger. For the past 26 years, the Argie Cooper Public Library has participated in Tennessee's statewide reading program, but this year it seems to be bigger than ever.

Five-year old Banks Young is eager to participate in a magic trick. (T-G Photo by Micky Pietkiewicz) [Order this photo]
Personal reading log

Within the first week of the program, the kids had read more than 2,300 books. Each child has a personal reading log that he or she keeps updated throughout the summer. The children earn prizes throughout the summer based on how many books they have read. Those who read the most books over the course of the summer will be placed in a drawing for prizes including tickets to the Tennessee Aquarium, Rock City and the Nashville Zoo.

Jessica Osborne, the library's director of children and teen programs, hopes that this program will help prevent the reading lag many kids have in the summer.

"Kids who participate in the program are more likely to retain the reading skills they have learned during the school year," Osborne said.

The library could not provide this program for the community without the help of its many gracious sponsors.

"The library is a non-profit organization, so we heavily rely on our community sponsors for funding and prizes for the kids," Osborne said. "We are so thankful for the support we receive from the community. Our sponsors are investing in the future of Bedford County."

The children enjoy participating in the magician's group activity.
(T-G Photo by Micky Pietkiewicz) [Order this photo]
Education made fun

Every Wednesday morning, the library fills with hundreds of children and parents who are eager to see one of the educational programs the library sponsors. The first program of the summer featured Super Science Tennessee's Mr. Rich the Science Guy. Mr. Rich performed various science experiments for the children that were not only educational, but also fun to watch.

Other programs throughout June have featured "The Magic Mentalist," a Tennessee State Park Ranger and WSMV Channel 4's Snow Bird.

Murfreesboro-based "Magic Mentalist," Blaine Little, had some age-old advice for the kids.

"Practice, practice, practice. I've learned many of the tricks I perform from reading a book," Little said.

John Bass, wildlife expert and Tennessee state park ranger, represented the National History Educational Company of the Midsouth at another June program. He not only brought dinosaur teeth replicas to show the children, but he also brought several live animals for the children to see. Several animals that Bass showed the children included Ruprick the hedgehog and Dannie the tortoise.

Bass had some important advice for the kids as he encouraged them to read often and to read about what interests them.

"An education is something no one can take from you. Educate yourself on things that interest you so you can do something you love when you grow up," he said.

Argie Cooper Public Library provides a summertime full of reading activity for local children. (T-G Photo by Micky Pietkiewicz) [Order this photo]
Family activity

Kim Smith, who is no stranger to the library, has six grandchildren that she brings to the summer reading program.

"Every Wednesday after the reading program we have a picnic in the gazebo across the street, then we walk down to the river. During the summer, we come to the library several times a week," Smith said.

Smith loved going to the library as a child and has noticed how much the summer reading program has helped her grandchildren to retain and improve their reading skills.

"Their reading is very proficient. They read above their level and their vocabulary is wonderful," she said. "To have your grandchildren climb up in your lap and read a book to you, with a huge smile on their face, is such a great feeling."

Magician Blaine Little was a hit with the kids.
(T-G Photo by Micky Pietkiewicz) [Order this photo]
Don't miss out

Smith encourages people of all ages, but especially children, to visit the library.

"The children who don't come to the summer reading program are missing out. It's totally free and it gives them something to do," she said. "If your child struggles with reading, the librarians can help them with that. The kids see the librarians as their friends and mentors. This program allows the kids of Bedford County the chance to experience many things that they otherwise, might not be able to experience."

Paola Ochoa helps Little to perform a magic trick involving metal rings.
(T-G Photo by Micky Pietkiewicz) [Order this photo]
Daily activities

The library not only offers the children's summer reading program, but also hosts events throughout the week for families and teens. Monday nights, or "Mad Science Mondays," are designated for families to spend together at the library. Tomorrow night's theme for family night will be "Harry Potter Potions." The program will begin at 6 p.m., and you are encouraged to sign up before attending.

On Thursdays, teens are invited to the library's "Teen Night," which includes "The Hunger Games" and "Crime Scene Investigation" theme activities. The programs begin at 4 p.m. and teens are encouraged to sign up before attending.

The library will host its next summer reading program on July 9 at Eakin Elementary School at 10 a.m. Dewayne Reynolds, storyteller and balloon artist, will be the guest. The grand finale event for summer reading will take place July 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Argie Cooper Public Library. The finale, where top readers will be announced, will be a star party featuring NASA expert Billy Hix. Kids will want to make sure to get their reading logged by July 14 in order for it to count for summer reading.

The librarians at the Argie Cooper Public Library want the children of Bedford County to have a blast this summer. So listen up kids -- "Fizz, Boom, Read"-- at the library!


For more information about the summer reading program or other library offers, visit acolibrary.org or call 684-7323.