The end of the school year and long sunny days mean the start of summer vacation and the start of the Summer Reading Program at the Verona Public Library.

This year the Summer Reading Program theme is “Oceans of Possibilities” and all kinds of ocean-themed fun activities will be on offer for kids and teens. The purpose of the Summer Reading Program is to encourage kids and teens to continue reading and learning over the summer break.

Our youth services librarians have been very busy the last few weeks making visits to classrooms getting the word out about all the great things happening at the library over the summer. Besides being able to earn free books and prizes for reading, the library also offers a wide variety of programs for kids & teens including arts and crafts, STEAM programs, outdoor games and movies, the Read & Eat book club, Minecraft club, and much more.

To participate in the reading program, people can log their reading on an app and website called Beanstack. New this year, if a child attends school in the Verona Area School District, they can use their school iPads to link their school and library Beanstack accounts.

Reading earns fun coupons plus free books, while doing activities earns tickets for chances to win bigger grand prizes like pool parties, gift cards, and a giant gummy octopus. Younger kids can participate too - even babies - with grand prizes like a Baby Shark-themed basket and an ocean activity center.

While the majority of library events and programs will be offered in-person this summer, the library will also host weekly outdoor story times Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. There will also be some virtual programs including weekly story times on FaceBook Live and Kids Lego Club which meets over Zoom.

Summer Reading isn’t all just for kids though, adults can also participate and log their reading time to enter to win $50 gift cards to local restaurants.

And all this great stuff is made possible by the financial support of the Friends of the Verona Public Library who have been funding the Summer Reading Program in Verona for over 40 years!

This summer the library has something extra special planned. We are also holding our first-ever community read in June and July called Verona Reads! For adults and teens, the book selection is Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley and for younger readers can get a copy of Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young.

We hope you can join us for virtual author visits and the other great events related to the community read. There are free copies of both books available at the library while supplies last. Verona Reads! is sponsored by the Library Endowment Fund and the Friends of the Verona Public Library.

I hope you will make reading a part of your summer!

Stacey Burkart is the director of the Verona Public Library.

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