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Participate in summer library program from home

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO — The Melbourne Public Library is bringing the summer program to participants’ homes.

The Melbourne Public Library is switching things up for the “Imagine Your Story” summer program this year, but the activities are as fun as ever.

Registration is not required and people of any age can participate.

Take-home kits are available for pick up 3 to 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays in the lower level parking lot.

Librarian Sara Mechtel hopes the kits will help kids have fun this summer.

“The first take-home kit is special,” she said. “Another librarian gave us the great idea to provide a starter kit with lots of basic materials that can be used in the following weeks: scissors, pencils, pens, markers, colored pencils, sharpeners, glue, and tape. We hope this can also supplement school supplies for families!”

Each week will have its own kit with instructions and materials for the activities. Mechtel said they are designed for all ages, but age-specific handouts will also be available.  These handouts will target skills to work on like motor skills, counting and reasoning.

Each week has a new activity, and the first has the theme “Once Upon a Sidewalk” with chalk available for sidewalk drawings. Following weeks’ activities include journaling, planting seeds, making a kite, rock painting and many others. The program is sure to entertain kids and adults alike this summer.

It will take a little more creativity to stay active this summer, with many activities canceled. But the summer program has great ideas for how to fill the hours until it is safe to gather again. The library even has ideas for how to connect with loved ones, encouraging participants to send letters one week.

There will be a reading competition based on time participants spent reading with prizes for the top ten readers. Goodie bags will also be offered at the end to anyone who participates.

“Our goal for the reading competition is simply to encourage reading in all ages through summer. Especially for students, reading can help slow the learning loss over summer,” Mechtel said.

Changes from previous years include no activities in the library.

“We do miss having a big room full of eager visitors and special guest educators,” Mechtel said. “There is a lot of energy and excitement in that version, and we miss visiting with families. This year’s program is very different, but has its own charms and benefits.”

Mechtel said the summer program is always popular with the community.

“We hear from the community year-round that our programs are beloved, and summer is especially fun for everyone,” she said. “We have averaged around 50 registrants for the past few years.”

She added that guest performers bringing in animals is always a favorite and that library will be happy if the program helps even just one person have a fun summer.

“As any library will tell you, reaching even one person means the program was a success,” she said.

Mechtel hopes this is a program everyone can enjoy, regardless of access to the internet.

“We worked very hard with our State Library and colleagues across the nation to adapt for safety and convenience,” she said. “We avoided reliance on digital programming for now so that everyone can join in. Not everyone has reliable internet access, and our goal is inclusive education and entertainment.”

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Contact Anna Shearer at 641-753-6611 or ashearer@timesrepublican.com

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