End of the Lewiston Public Library Reading Program

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Host Drew Desjardins of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too puts on a show for participants in the Lewiston Public Library’s Reading Program. Photo submitted

The Lewiston Public Library’s summer reading program recently ended.

The program, which ran from June 27 to August 13, provided reading journals for all ages that also served as bookmarks. Participants could log reading time combined with other activities such as signing a Maine State Park pass or signing a nature backpack filled with educational activities about birds, wildlife and plants. Backpacks were provided by the Maine Audubon Society.

“Adults were also part of the enrichment and fun. Not only did they complete more reading diaries than last year, but they also enjoyed book discussions with ReadME in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council; listened to the musical styles of New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee Marc Blac; and learned about community solar, Maine whales, and First Amendment rights in the modern age,” children’s librarian Sara Turner said, according to a press release from Dottie Perham-Whittier, community relations coordinator at the Lewiston Town Hall.

“Everyone has different learning styles, and we want to provide accommodations for more than just reading. It’s about experience, engagement, and educational enrichment in many forms of learning. We want a connection with the Lewiston Public Library to be safe, a place where people feel accepted and a place where they are understood.

Mayor Carl Sheline shared his excitement about how Read, Make, Explore has reached community members. “The library is the lifeblood of our city, and I’m proud of the programs Sara and the children’s department developed for all ages last summer,” he said.

In addition to in-person Ocean of Possibilities-themed activities, the program provided educational presentations; a magician and puppeteers; talks and crafts for adults; and learning enrichment programs about sharks, cephalopods and the importance of keeping the environment clean. Attendees also visited artist Drew Desjardins of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too at Kennedy Park.

Turner adds that Tree Street Youth also visited the library weekly during the summer, which provided youth with access to various activities, books, and interactions with library staff. The relationship with Tree Street Youth is expected to continue into the fall.

To be sensitive to time and possible transportation and language barriers for parents/guardians to bring children to the library, Turner also brought the Summer Reading Program to every Lewiston Elementary School where summer camps of the 21st century and early promise education were organized. She said that at the end of the program, she rolled around in carts of books to give away.

“Seeing the smiles spread across each child’s face as they choose a book was worth it. There’s nothing quite like receiving a new book like yours, especially if you’ve only had used books. Even in those little moments, you never know what impact it can have on a child’s life,” Turner said.

The children’s department distributed over 400 new books this summer.

Library manager Marcela Perez echoed the mayor’s sentiments, “Mainers like to make the most of summers, so Lewiston Public Library staff work hard to provide programming that engages community members of all ages in a season of joyful learning and enrichment. We hope that through the library’s summer reading program each year, children, teens and adults will use their extra time to challenge themselves to learn new skills, meet other people with interests similar and to celebrate our community of learners.

Additional creativity at the library continued throughout the summer with Lewiston High School’s 21st Century Teens using the Teen Space weekly, and the Teen Tabletop RFG program, which will continue into the fall. , brought many new teenage customers to the teen space. Additionally, library staff and teen volunteers also held story times within the community, and the teen space was also a popular place for teens and families to play games, read, watch movies, do crafts and stay cool.

For more information, visit lewistonmaine.gov.

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