LUMBERTON — A downpour of rain didn’t stop children, and adults, Friday from celebrating the end of the Robeson County Public Library’s summer of reading.
The Summer Reading Finale took place in Osterneck Auditorium in Lumberton after heavy rain cancelled plans for an outdoor celebration in the Library Gardens. The theme for year’s summer reading program, which began in June, was Libraries Rock.
“Obviously we would have loved to have been outside, but even with the rain pouring down, kids were in here smiling with there messy hands and getting soaking wet in the rain getting their snow cones and listening to music. It’s just been phenomenal,” said Katie Fountain, Robeson County Public Library director.
During the celebration children tie-dyed 50th Anniversary Robeson County Public Library bags and then listened to music performed by Morris Cardenas, courtesy of the Robeson County Arts Council. Each child then ran outside in the rain to get shaved ice from Kona Ice.
“We get a lot of participants in our summer reading. It’s our biggest event,” said Lauren Piszzor, outreach services librarian. “This summer we had a lot of really awesome programs, and this finale was the icing on the cake.”
The summer reading finale also marked the deadline to turn in summer reading logs.
Youth Service Librarian Lisa Bowden said “well over 200 children and adults” participated this year by turning in their reading logs and making themselves eligible for a prize drawing. Winners of the drawing get a gift card from Barnes and Noble.
The winners were divided into age categories. The winner of the age 3 and under category was Riley Stead, 3; ages 4 to 12, Jessica Vail, 7; ages 13 to 17, Cameron Britt, 13; and adults, Jessica Monroe.
With the reading log, participants ages 17 and under where given a sheet with circles. Each child had to read 20 minutes a day and color the circle each time. Adults were given Bingo sheets and could mark off a box after attending a program or finishing a certain book. Each person that turned in a reading log received a prize and was entered into the prize drawing.
Alana Roberson, 13, finished her reading log in about four days by completing two chapter books, she said. The two books she chose were “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” by bestselling author Jenny Han, and “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” by Mourene Goo.
Nine-year-old Amiryana Moore read 2o minutes a day, which added up to 50 books read over the summer. She says her favorite was “Shopkins,” a book based on collectible toy dolls.
“Throughout the summer it’s important to keep kids engaged with education, and specifically reading, so that it doesn’t matter if they’re going into preschool or they’re emerging readers or in older grades, they retain what they’ve already learned,” Fountain said.
This summer’s programs included lessons on reptiles and birds of prey, a concert, and arts and crafts.
“I think the Summer Reading Program has been energetically successful,” Fountain said. “We’ve had great turnout at all of our programs. The kids have really enjoyed the variety of programs. We’ve had museum animals, we’ve had bird of prey, we’ve had musicians, story times; there’s just been so much to choose from.”
Fountain said holding these events helps students starting their new school year get ready to learn with more skills than they had when they left for summer break. She said the program also gives kids a chance to spend time with other children throughout the summertime.
“It’s important to give kids a chance to gather as a community,” Fountain said. “If they’re not in a camp situation they may not have a whole lot of other kids they can socialize with, so it gives them social time with kids and it exposes them to things they don’t get to come in contact with every day.”
Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.