Added to the list of things operating drastically different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic is the St. Charles Parish Library System’s popular Summer Reading Program. Even so, lots of fun and entertainment are promised.
“We’re going all virtual this year,” Lauren Pitz, one of the library system’s assistant directors, said. “We regularly get performers and entertainers from around the country to visit the library and perform for our community, but with everyone at home this year we’ve worked with them to set up a way where they can record their performances and still interact with our patrons – just in a different way.”
Pitz said the annual summer reading program is easily the library system’s most popular offering.
“Summer reading program is our holiday season,” she said. “It’s just two months of craziness … just the best kind of craziness.”
This year’s theme of Imagine Your Story will be jam-packed with mermaids, fairy tales, unicorns and other whimsical fun for readers of all ages. Sign up is available at www.myscpl.org/summer2020.
“It’s something people look forward to,” Pitz said of the program. “We can’t do what we’re used to doing, but we’re doing our best.”
Every reader, or younger child who is read to, for 360 minutes will complete the program. There are sign up and completion prizes, as well as grand prizes that will be raffled off for each of the three age groups.
“We’re also doing programs-to-go, which are basically like craft kits,” Pitz said. “Everything you’ll need to do a craft is in this bag, and we’re creating video tutorials to go along with them.”
One kit a week for each age group – children, teens and adults – will be available. Patrons will have to register for the kits and pick them from their chosen branch.
In the kit will be an instruction sheet for the craft, and Pitz said a website will be also available that will feature a video of a staff member demonstrating how to do the craft. With each craft will also be a list of related resources, such as websites, e-books and other library resources.
Pitz said all six library branches will offer the kits, and curb-side pick-up for the kits will be available. All locations are now also offering curbside pick-up for library materials. Specifics on how to coordinate those service are available at www.myscpl.org/curbside.
“We’re trying the best we can to bring the library experience to people in their homes,” she said. “We’re really excited about it.”
Pitz said a $20,000 grant from the Entergy Charitable Foundation is helping to make the virtual program possible.
“It goes a really long way to pay these performers and the materials for the crafts,” she said.
The library system will utilize Facebook for much of the summer program, and staff members and performers will be commenting on the page as much as possible to answer any questions people may have.
“My team deserves big credit for this happening … getting the Summer Reading Program together is truly a team effort with everyone at the library helping out,” Pitz said. “Youth Services Librarian Lesley Campbell and Adult Programming and Outreach Coordinator Amanda Verdin have worked tirelessly to coordinate everything and everyone over the last few months.”