Library summer reading program counts down to launch

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 7, 2019

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Liftoff nears for the Sterling Heights Public Library’s space-themed summer reading program.

Every year, the library encourages residents and patrons to invest their time in a book — preferably a bunch of books — while they have more vacation or free time.

This year, the library’s summer reading theme is “A Universe of Stories,” and it’s open to adults, teens, kids and even babies. The program begins June 17, and activities will continue through much of August.

Jason Groth, the library’s public relations and programs coordinator, said the space theme comes from the Collaborative Summer Library Program, which provides a framework for library programming across the country.

Groth explained that the program aims to help young students retain their academic edge so they’ll be ready for school in the fall.

“The reason that we host the program is primarily to combat the summer slide,” he said. “The average student loses about one-eighth of a grade level. We are trying to engage students’ minds over the summer.”

Adults who want to join the summer program will get a bingo sheet full of reading goals. When three rows are filled, they may turn the street in to enter one of four raffles. The raffle prizes include a dinner and a movie date night, an Amazon Fire tablet, a $50 Visa gift card, and astronomy binoculars. Teens have a similar program: Finishers will get a prize and be eligible to enter raffles for one of two $50 Visa gift cards, Groth said.

Meanwhile, kids can pick up a booklet of summer reading goals, with a special sheet for each week of the program. Participants who finish a row of goals will be eligible for a weekly prize, as well as raffle tickets for various prizes. Kids who complete six weeks get a special prize package.

 And parents with babies who complete three rows of goals on a special worksheet may turn it in and get a prize.

Besides the contests, the library will offer events that fit the season’s outer space theme. For instance, the Michigan Science Center will host an “Amazing Astronomy and Fantastic Physics” event July 16 for children ages 3 and up. On July 17, a representative from the Mutual UFO Network will lead a “UFOs Over Michigan” flying saucer sighting discussion for adults, Groth said.

On June 18, Mad Science of Detroit will present an interactive program about space and space travel. Kilowatt Krieger, the stage name for Mad Science of Detroit’s operations manager, explained what the public can expect from his group’s new “Reach for the Moon” science show.

“This is a new show that we created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon,” he said. “So that’s why all the libraries have a space theme, because it commemorates the moon landing.”

Krieger said the show will include a number of space-themed demonstrations and experiments based on topics like propulsion and the solar system. He said that while much of Mad Science’s programming is geared toward pre-K to elementary school-age kids, he said the group’s events appeal to kids, families and people of all ages.

“We’re just really trying to get them excited about space, interstellar travel and the historical accomplishment of landing on the moon,” he said.

The summer reading program will conclude Aug. 17 at the Summer Reading Party, fit for the whole family. The event — complete with a petting zoo, prizes and activities — will take place 10 a.m.-noon at the Dodge Park Farmers Market Pavilion. In addition, teens will be invited to a special After Hours Teen Party at the library 6-10 p.m. Aug. 23.

Find out more about the Sterling Heights Public Library, 40255 Dodge Park Road, by visiting www.shpl.net or by calling (586) 446-2665.

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