Youths can take a summer vacation at the library

There may not be a new Harry Potter book this summer, but it will still be easy for youths to find magic at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Staff at the children's and teen's sections of the library are offering reading incentive programs and several fun activities for local youths this summer, giving them an opportunity to keep their imaginations active while they're out of school.

Tuesday: Teddy Bear Picnic, 11 a.m. to noon, for children ages 5 and younger. Take a picnic lunch and your favorite teddy bear to hear live music and do fun activities on the library lawn.

June 21: Pajama Story Time, 6 to 7 p.m, all ages. Draw-and-tell stories inside the children's library.

June 28: Yampa Valley Boys, 6 to 7 p.m, live Western music on the library lawn.

July 12: We're Not Clowns, 6 to 7 p.m, jugglers and jokers on the library lawn.

July 26: Puppet Show with the Walshes, 6 to 7 p.m, on the library lawn.

All events are free. For more information, including information about Tuesday and Wednesday story-times, call 879-0240.

"Reading is the perfect way to keep kids' minds active and growing," youth services librarian Currie Meyer said.

According to several research studies, Meyer said, kids who don't read during the summer can lose the equivalent of two months of school and enter their new grade behind the curve.

But Steamboat Springs doesn't seem to have much of a problem with youths not reading.

"Our circulation goes through the roof in the summer," said youth services manager Alison Lambart, who runs the teen section at the library.

More than 400 youths participated in summer reading programs at Bud Werner last year. This summer, Meyer's "Laugh it Up!" program will encourage children ages 5 to 10 to reach 24 hours of reading time. Following a brightly pictured map, children can track their time turning pages and collect a prize at the library after every three hours of reading. Meyer said prizes are donated by 24 local sponsors and include free ice cream cones, whoopee cushions and other toys.

After completing 24 hours, children can choose a new paperback book from the children's section. The program runs from June 12 to Aug. 4.

Lambart's teen reading program focuses on pages read rather than time. Teens who read a designated amount of pages can earn a $10 gift certificate to local businesses including Quiksilver Boardriders Club and Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. The teen program runs June 12 to Aug. 18.

Lambart and Meyer both said summer reading is a chance for youths to explore their interests and read for fun.

"It makes your whole year when a kid connects with a book," Meyer said.

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