Children on summer vacation aren't only reading for their own enjoyment, but they are reading to help others.
The Sanibel Public Library's Summer Reading Program is a way for children to keep up those good reading habits over summer break, participate in creative activities, and help donate books to the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Barbara Dunke, youth services librarian, started working at the library ten years ago and she's overseen the summer program ever since.
Shawn Holiday from the Alliance for the Arts introduced children to acting by leading them in improvisation games and activities for the Sanibel Public Library's Summer Reading Program. Mckenzie Cassidy
"We changed the program about three years ago," she said. "I decided we needed to do something different. The children needed an opportunity to give back."
So the theme of the reading program, running until July 26, is "Reading for Others!" For every five hours of reading, the library donates one book for a child in the program and another for the children's hospital. Last year, the library donated a total of 856 books and now they want to hit 1,000.
Each week the summer program offers special programs on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. for children of any age. On June 18, Shawn Holiday from the Alliance for the Arts introduced the children to acting through improvisation games and activities. He led the class through warming up, pantomiming, stage directions, and improvising conversations.
Other programs available this summer include a the 11th Annual Mini Parade Float Contest, Scavenger Hunt, John Storms' World of Reptiles, and Let's Make Ice Cream. Before the Fourth of July, the children will create mini parade floats using shoeboxes. They decorate the boxes reflecting the same theme as the parade, "American Hometown Pride." Adults and older students will judge the floats on July 3 and they will be displayed across the library.
The library also stays open later on Tuesdays for VIP After Hours between 6-7 p.m. Children in the sixth grade or older are invited to after hours to enjoy free programs about creating t-shirt bags or weaving palm fronds, as well as to take time to read, play the Nintendo Wii, play board games, create crafts or eat snacks. Dunke said VIP After Hours is growing in popularity.
"They seem to enjoy it and we've always had a good turnout," she said.
The Summer Reading Program is sponsored with funds provided by the Joan Hunt Corey Children's Fund and the Sanibel Public Library at 770 Dunlop Road. For more information, visit sanlib.org or call 472-2483.