Summer library programs prove popular

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published July 10, 2013

 Ryan Sunberg, 5, left, and Remy Besson, 4, have some sensory fun with shaving cream at the Troy Public Library July 8.

Ryan Sunberg, 5, left, and Remy Besson, 4, have some sensory fun with shaving cream at the Troy Public Library July 8.

Photo by Deb Jacques

The summer programs at the Troy Public Library are scoring hits, literally and virtually, with patrons young and old.

Last year, a total of 111 adults, 150 teens and 1,502 children participated in summer reading programs.

“The point-based program is a hit,” said Olivia Olson, teen librarian. She reported that as of the week of July 1, 170 teens had signed up for the summer reading program. As of July 8, 1,253 children were registered for the summer reading program.

In the point-based program for youth ages 13 to 18, for each five points teens earn, they are eligible for a prize, up to four prizes. Points will be awarded to teens who read and review books, draw artwork, attend programs, use the library, volunteer and enter contests, and submit to The Zine, an online magazine for teens. There will also be a random drawing for a larger prize basket each month.

“I was a little nervous about it, but it’s working out well,” Olson said.

Programs for teens include the Otaku Club, an offshoot of the Anime Club, which focuses on all things Japanese and explores manga, anime and eating Pocky, a Japanese candy. Hide and Seek in the library is for teens only after hours July 19.

Olson said the library’s Teen Advisory Board asked for a trivia contest. Teams play against one another, and Olson posts questions online. The first team to answer correctly gets points for their team. The teams will face off in an after-hours trivia contest at the library July 26.

“After-hours events seem to be the most popular,” Olson said. 

The teens will make lanterns during a lantern festival July 13.

There will be a teen poetry contest where teens may enter up to three original poems of any style to be judged by members of the Teen Advisory Board on or before July 27.

Meghan Battle, head of youth services at the Troy Public Library, said the staff made changes to the children’s summer reading program to make it more inclusive of those who prefer to listen to an audio book or read books online as opposed to traditional books. Also, kids don’t have to complete all the activities to attend the end of the year party.

Prizes are given each week for those children who log their library activities. These will include reading a book, listening to an audio book, using a self check-out machine at the library, attending a library program, downloading music or an e-book online, using an electronic resource such as an encyclopedia or other data base, reading a magazine, watching a DVD or Blu-ray, using a library computer or playing in the Tech Farm in the children’s section of the library.  

Donors and the Friends of the Troy Public Library provide the weekly prizes. These will be cones from Dairy Queen, tacos from Del Taco, frozen drinks from Sonic, one free game of bowling at Troy Lanes, a free treat from TCBY and free children’s meals from P.F. Chang’s and Noodles and Co.

Children can see a family magic show; make spaceships, an octopus or pop-up origami; and go batty with a live animal show with bats. The Friends of the Troy Public Library funds the programs.

There will be a program finale beach-themed party featuring a slot racecar track, a bowling alley, a hula-hoop contest and a petting zoo Aug. 8.

That party is open to all, and children don’t have to fulfill all guidelines of the program to attend.  “People are really responding to the kind of changes we made this summer,” Battle said. “We’ve had a lot of response to all our programs.”  She explained that the paper plate portal activity — in which participants used paper plates, blue cellophane, goldfish crackers, sand, colored rice and Fruit Loops cereal to create a portal into the sea — drew 305 people, including 200 children. The Paleo Joe program, a dinosaur lecture with dino props, drew 260 people.

“They’re really taking us up on the offer to explore other areas of the library and all of our other resources. They are tip-toeing their way to other things,” Battle said. “But they’re still not straying from their first love, which is reading.”

Adults who register and read or listen to a book and write a short review will be eligible to win a weekly prize of a $25 Somerset Collection gift card. A grand prize of a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader and case will be awarded in a random drawing at the end of the program, which will run through Aug. 8.

“It’s going so well,” Cathy Russ, director of the Troy Public Library, said of all the summer reading programs. She noted that adult enrollment is at 150. “I’m just so happy people are coming back to the library and see what a great place it is.”

The Troy Public Library is located at 510 W. Big Beaver. For information on the summer library programs, call (248) 524-3538 or visit