The Lamar County Library System may not be able to host on-site programs until late July because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the system’s annual summer reading program will still continue, albeit in an online format at first.
The program – with a theme of “Imagine Your Story” – will begin with five online events, ranging from story time to animal adventures, with the hopes of beginning in-person events on July 20.
“We do this every year, and it’s really important, especially for the children,” system director Diane DeCesare Ross said. “In that summer time period, they quit reading and they quit learning, and so when you get back into the fall they’ve lost everything they’ve gained, or a lot of what they gained, while they were in school.
“And this year in particular, since school quit early, we need to keep people reading and learning.”
The schedule of events is as follows:
• Week of June 15: Online. Tommy Terrific will present a program on Satchel Paige, a former Major League Baseball pitcher who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
• Week of June 22: Online. Safari tales (animal adventures).
• Week of June 29: Online: Tommy Terrific will return to perform “wacky” magic.
• Week of July 6: Online: Dr. Gee will perform a magic routine.
• Week of July 13: Online: Story time with Ms. Ernestine.
• Week of July 20: In-person. Juggler and unicyclist Wink Danenberg will perform at 10 a.m. July 21 at the Oak Grove Community Center, 10 a.m. July 22 at the Lumberton Library, 2 p.m. July 22 at the Purvis Community Center and 2 p.m. July 21 at the Sumrall Library.
• Week of July 27: In-person. Water slides will be offered July 28 at the Sumrall Library, July 29 at the Lumberton Library and July 30 at the Purvis Library. A street fair at Oak Grove Library is to be announced at a later date.
The online events will be posted early on Monday mornings and can be viewed at the library system’s website at www.lclsms.org or on the system’s Facebook page. The in-person events will be allowed if circumstances permit.
“We hope (to be able to host the in-person events) – I really do hope so,” DeCesare said. “That’s our plan at this moment. We’re thinking we’re going to have to decide by July 1 if we’re going to allow the juggler and unicyclist to come in person.
“But so far, that is what’s scheduled. The kids are used to having a water slide as part of their summer programming at our libraries, so that presents some problems all of its own, but we’re hoping it can be sort of an end of summer celebration.”
In addition, the library system will also host a summer reading challenge, with weekly door prizes and a mystery grand prize. Participants in this program are asked to register online or download the Beanstack app and search for Lamar County Library System.
“The kids compete for prizes, and some of the adults too, because there’s an adult reading program as well,” DeCesare Ross said. “So they just have to go in, sign up for it, and then there’s a weekly drawing for prizes.
“Then at the end of the summer, there’s a grand prizes drawing. So it’s a little bonus in addition to the performances.”
So far, DeCesare Ross has received plenty of positive feedback on the summer program.
“It’s actually pretty amazing, because the registration software that we have went live (on Tuesday) morning, and within 40 minutes we already had people that were registered,” she said. “So we’re really happy about that.
“There’s been a lot of interest, and even before we set this up, my branch managers had told me that they’ve had people call and ask if we’re still going to do this summer library program. So it’s important to us, it’s important for our patrons, and we’ve just got to figure out a different way to do it this time.”