School is out, and summer is here. It's time to put down your pencils and pick up your hard hats.

Summer Reading Club returns to Southwest Public Libraries on June 10 and runs through Aug. 5.

This year's theme is "Build a Better World." In addition to an assortment of hands-on activities and programs for children, teens and adults, the library encourages patrons to make positive contributions to the community and help others.

Throughout Summer Reading Club, the library plans to bring in a variety of performers and entertainers. Kicking things off will be a children's rock band, the Shazzbots, on June 12, and other acts in the coming months include ventriloquist Mike Hemmelgarn, comedy juggler Matt Jergens, children's entertainer Erica Carlson and magician Tricky Max.

The library will also receive visits from a few non-human friends. The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, the Turtle Lady and the Bugman will stop by with furry, scaly, four-legged, six-legged and eight-legged guests.

In addition, there will be programs with the Armstrong Air and Space Museum, an invention fair based on Columbus inventor Granville T. Woods and a puppet show featuring "Sleeping Beauty."

Both library branches will offer opportunities to give back.

The Westland Area Library will offer Cards for a Cause. Every Friday in June, patrons can stop by Youth Services and make cards for the troops, then make some for Nationwide Children's Hospital in July. Westland Youth Services also will collect items to assist local animal shelters both months. Stop by to see what items they need.

Westland Reference will collect electronic items for recycling to keep them out of landfills. Acceptable items include cellphones, pagers, cameras, keyboards and tablets.

Meanwhile, Grove City Reference will conduct Operation Gratitude throughout July. Patrons are invited to write thank-you cards to members of the armed forces to show appreciation for their service. Staff will collect the letters and send them.

The main component of Summer Reading Club is, of course, reading.

If you plan to participate, read and keep track of everything you read: works of fiction, non-fiction, young adult, science fiction, children's literature -- anything. There are no restrictions, whether you read by yourself, listen to audiobooks or read to someone else.

Beginning June 10, patrons can sign up for Summer Reading Club at the library or online. The library's website,, will have a link where individuals can register for the program, track your reading and complete challenges for points and prizes.

Patrons can pick up a copy of the library's summer calendar or the latest edition of the Happenings newsletter to get a full listing of all programs and activities scheduled for the club.

Mark Dubovec is communications manager for Southwest Public Libraries. Contact him at