It's a groundbreaking year for the Summer Reading Program at the Bexley Public Library as it launches Fizz, Boom, Read! and challenges the entire community to participate.
It's a first for program organizers, and one they hope will boost participation -- and time spent reading.
"We're excited to bring the whole community together and challenge them to meet a community goal," said Ken Flower, the library's director of advancement and community relations. "This year's summer reading program is geared toward everyone -- from early pre-readers to seasoned readers. We're excited to have everyone be a part of it."
Enveloped in a scientific theme, related activities will bring a new flavor to the program, Flowers said, with readers heading out of the library at times and into the great outdoors.
Youth program highlights include a visit from the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, regular visits from COSI and an appearance by the Turtle Lady and her reptiles. Children also will take on engineering challenges and build racing robot toothbrushes, explore the "grosser" side of science, and challenge each other to balloon races.
Adults will have the opportunity to learn more about topics such as home brewing, beekeeping and gluten-free baking.
Instead of the usual program prizes, Flower said the library is offering weekly drawings for participants that encourage extended learning, such as passes to COSI, the Columbus Museum of Art and King's Island.
Community businesses have also partnered with the library this year to offer regular incentives throughout the summer for patrons who bring in their library card or free summer reading journal.
Families and individuals participating in Fizz, Boom, Read! will be encouraged to set their own reading goal. For every book read, the library will add a bead to its Super Science Beaker in the hopes that it overflows by August.
The program, which began May 28, will culminate Aug. 3 on the main lawn of Capital University with a Final Summer Reading Party, featuring the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and a number of "special guests."
Details of all events and programs can be found in the Summer Program Guide or on Bexley Public Library's website.
To sign up and receive a Summer Reading Field Journal, community members can stop by the library and see a teen volunteer.
Meanwhile, the Columbus Metropolitan Library is ready to let imaginations soar as it presents its Summer Reading Program, Imagine Your Story -- Read.
The program kicks off Saturday, May 31, at the Main Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 96 S. Grant Ave. It leads to a summer full of visits from Sogbety Diomande and West African Rhythm, Erica Carlson and her Balloon Workshop, as well as Amelia Bedelia and her Silly Science.
Storytimes, play days and a Fairy Tale Costume Gala also are planned for those who participate at the Main Branch.
Participants of all ages can earn prizes for reading. Books, movie tickets and the chance to win a free bicycle are just some of the incentives being offered this year.
The CML is also encouraging children to participate in the new Reading Buddies program, which pairs young readers with staff members and volunteers for 15 minutes of one-on-one reading practice, earning participants extra points on their reading log.
To register, visit any branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library or log on to the library's website.