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The San Benito County Free Library encourages children and young adults to remain active readers during the summer months, and this year the library will be holding its summer reading program between June 16 – July 21 in order to keep local young minds active amid the many distractions available when school is out. 

The library will offer reading logs to young children and teens, and those who track their reading and activities will become eligible to win prizes. The San Benito County Free Library will also hold special programs in the library aimed at families, children and young adults. Summer reading events are a programming staple for public libraries nationwide, and they play an important role in reducing the effects of summer learning loss often suffered by students during the summer months.

Young children who sign up for the summer program at the library who reach their reading goals can win free books and receive a certificate for a free mini size pizza from Mountain Mike’s Pizza.  Children who complete 15 activities in their activity log will be able to pull a prize from the library’s Treasure Chest. Participants can begin signing up for the summer reading program on June 13, and each week of the program will feature a day of special activities based on a unique theme. 

June 16: A Science Challenge day in which young children and families can have fun making their own bubble solution and little helicopter rotors. 
June 23: An art challenge with a super hero twist.  Youngsters will be able to make their own super hero arm cuffs, create a super hero portrait, or make their own super hero mask using pie plates.
June 30: In order to get into the spirit of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the library will have a summer games challenge. This day will feature carnival-style events and games, Wii group games, and a station where participants will be able to make their own gold medal.
July 7: A focus on the power of words. Elementary school-age children will be able to enjoy games including a team rhyming challenge and Mad Libs, while preschoolers can take part in a Mother Goose stories program.
July 14: A Mystery Challenge day. Among the events taking place on this day are a sticker hunt for preschoolers, and an opportunity for older children to learn how to dust for fingerprints.
July 21: During the final week of the summer reading program, the library will celebrate program participants. Programs scheduled for this day include a Zumba class and a face painting station.

The Teen Summer Challenge will also run between June 16 – July 21, and is designed for those 12-18 years of age. Teens who sign up and track their summer reading will become eligible to win prizes such as free books or gift cards. Additionally, the library will hold a teen program titled “Through Our Eyes,” in which teens will be encouraged to create their own video or slide show of their favorite location or thing to do in San Benito County. The program allows teens to express themselves creatively while also showing community pride. Teens who complete the program will get prizes and will have their work shown in a viewing party for participants at the end of the summer reading program.

Teens are encouraged to help with the summer reading program as volunteers. Teens who are interested in assisting library staff with any of the summer reading programs can contact the library for more information. The first meeting for teen volunteers will be on May 31.

Community residents who are seeking more information on the program can call the library at (831) 636-4107 or send an email to library@cosb.us.

The library would like to thank the following sponsors for helping to make this year’s summer reading program possible: the County of San Benito, the Friends of the San Benito County Free Library, First 5 San Benito, San Benito County Express, Hollister Art League and Mountain Mike’s Pizza.

About the author:

Richard James Salta Lopez is a recent graduate of the Master of Library and Information Science program at San Jose State University, and currently serves as the young adult services librarian at the San Benito County Free Library. Before becoming a librarian, he attended Anzar High School and is a native of San Juan Bautista.