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Library kicks off summer reading program
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Children and teenagers who participate in the Richmond Hill Public Librarys summer reading program can win prizes and attend free performances. This years theme is Dream Big Read!

The Richmond Hill Public Library is encouraging readers of all ages to dream big this summer.

Children and teenagers who participate in the library’s summer reading program can win prizes and attend free performances. This year’s theme is “Dream Big — Read!”

“The point of the program is to encourage kids to read for pleasure and have fun,” said library manager Kate Barker. “There’s no reading list, so they can read whatever they like. This isn’t about studying or taking tests, it’s about learning to read for their own enjoyment.”

Children can pick up a log at the library to record their progress. Once they’ve read 10 hours or 10 books, whichever comes first, they can return to the library on one of the designated “prize booth days” to pick out their reward.

“The prizes are books that the children get to pick and keep for their own,” said librarian Shaina Whiddon. “There are some very beautiful, very nice books — stuff that the kids ask for that’s very popular. There’s something for every age group.”

The library’s summer reading program has been around for more than 10 years, and Whiddon said it has been well received by the community. More than 200 children participated last year, though not all received prizes.

In addition to the log and prizes, the library will also hold a series of free summer performances and events for young readers.

The lineup includes musician Annie Akins today, historian Annette Laing on June 13, magician Arthur Atsma on June June, live animals from Georgia State University’s Center for Wildlife Education on June 27, juggler Ron Anglin on July 11 and magician Chad Crews on July 18.

Akins’ show is at 2 p.m. at Richmond Hill United Methodist Church on Ford Avenue. All others will be at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church on Ford Avenue.

“The shows are a nice thing for parents who are looking for something to do with their kids. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s educational,” said Whiddon.

Though the program focuses mainly on children between the ages of 5 and 18, Whiddon stressed that adults should try to pick up a few books this summer, too.

“Reading is its own reward, no matter how old you are,” she said. “The brain is a muscle, and you have to exercise it. Reading is a great way to do that, no matter what you’re reading. It builds your vocabulary, your memory and your attention span.”

So which book does she expect to be the most popular this summer?

“For adults, it’s probably “Fifty Shades of Grey,” she said, referring to the bestselling — and controversial — erotic novel by E.L. James. “So many people requested it that we finally had to go buy our own copies. It’s a very hot item right now — pardon the pun.”

To find out more about the library’s summer reading program and performances, visit or call 756-3580.

Prize booth days

Today, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

June 13, 4-5 p.m.

June 20, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

June 27, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

July 11, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

July 18, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

July 25, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

July 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

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