Library launches expanded summer reading program


For decades, the staff at the Canton Public Library has encouraged children to work on their reading skills and explore new books by offering summer reading programs. This summer, the library staff is expanding the program to include readers of all ages.

Nicola Noone, 6, Lily Olsen, 6, and Emma Olsen, 3, at the summer reading kick-off event (Courtney Dodge photo)

Nicola Noone, 6, Lily Olsen, 6, and Emma Olsen, 3, at the summer reading kick-off event (Courtney Dodge photo)

“Every Hero Has a Story” is a program for readers in grades six and below, including children who need someone to read to them. When children register, they will receive a log to keep track of the books they read. For every five books they finish, they will receive a sticker for the log as well as a chance to enter a raffle and win a prize for guessing the number of super balls in a container at the circulation desk in the Junior Room. They may submit their first guess just by registering for the program.

Every Hero Has a Story kicked off with a bring-your-own-lunch picnic on the library lawn last Thursday afternoon.

“It was the first time we ever tried a picnic and it was a great success,” said children’s librarian Ann Woodman. “The weather cooperated beautifully.”

Dozens of children and their families enjoyed the afternoon, posing for photos with a superhero cutout made by librarian Liz Kiley and snacking on treats before registering at a table set up outside the building and then heading inside to find books and make their first guess at the number of balls.

Woodman said that children can choose a book from a superhero display in the library, but she encouraged them to read about the everyday heroes in their lives as well, such as police officers, firefighters and teachers. Children can also choose to read books on any topic that interests them.

The Junior Room’s summer crafts and summer movie programs both kicked off yesterday and will continue every Wednesday at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m., respectively. The Canton Cultural Council is also bringing Ed the Wizard to the library on Monday, July 13, at 2 p.m. to talk about the Magic of Reading.

Young Adult librarian Rosie Moore has put together many summer activities for students in grades 7-12 in a program called Unmask! Students will use a log to record points they earn for reading physical books, graphic novels and e-books as well as writing reviews of books, movies, video games and TV shows. They can earn points by attending a library program and doubling the points if they bring along a friend.

One hundred points equals a raffle ticket for one of four different prizes that include gift cards for Legacy Place businesses, Barnes and Noble, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Teen Movie Night starts July 6 at 4:30 p.m. with parts one and two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Moore has a number of little kid activities with a big kid twist planned for Throwback Thursdays, such as coloring in images on giant sheets of paper and using big kid coloring books. Those activities begin July 9 at 3:30 p.m.

Moore has several goals for students who participate in Unmask! “Definitely just enjoy themselves and keep reading and using the library over the summer,” she said, “and seeing the library as a place where they can do academic things, but have fun.” She has planned craft activities for every other Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. The next Unmask Your Creativity! session will be held on July 15.

The Escape the Ordinary reading program gives adults the opportunity to find out what other people are reading. Outreach librarian Carolyn Elkort said that summer is often when adults have more time to read, so they turn to what they have at home or go into the library to look for a book they’ve heard about or to get suggestions on books they may enjoy.

“People can get good summer reading recommendations from the staff,” said Elkort, adding that they often come in asking for a particular title. Two books that are popular in Canton right now are H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald and The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.

The staff has set up displays around the library with staff selections and beach reads. At the Escape the Ordinary display, readers will find titles and pieces of paper to write the name of a book they have read and a short review. Half of the sheet will be added to a bulletin board of anonymous reviews. Patrons can write their name and contact information on the other half for a chance to win a summer-themed gift basket from the Main Course.

In addition to involving adults in a fun reading program, Elkort sees another benefit to the program. “For those that have children, it’s important to encourage kids to keep reading,” she said. “Moms and dads are good models.”

Last October the library launched another reading program for young children that is ongoing: 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. Families register their child at the library and take home a reading log, filling in circles for each book. After families have read 50 books to their child, they take the log to the library and receive a sticker.

Families will receive a tote bag that says 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. After finishing 500 books, they will receive a book by local author and illustrator Jamie Harper, who designed the Miss Mingo logo. Miss Mingo is a flamingo that reads a lot. When families finish 1,000 books, their child will receive a t-shirt that says, “I read 1,000 Books before Kindergarten.”

Families can read the same book to the child again and again, and books may be in any language. The library has thousands of selections from which to choose. To date, four children have read 1,000 books. “My goal is to get an entire kindergarten class to wear the t-shirt on the first day of school,” Woodman said.

The Friends of the Canton Public Library are supporting 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten as well as the summer reading programs. Children may register for the summer programs through Friday, August 7. There is a party for children who participated in the program on Friday, August 14, at 10:30 a.m. at the library. For more information on all library programs, go to

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