Area Libraries Jumping Into the ‘Reading Pool’

With the school year ending, some children may want to put away the books for a few months and enjoy their time in the sun. But other folks relish summer as a great time to catch up on recreational reading, to expand their horizons, to journey vicariously to exotic spots or just keep their reading “muscles” flexed.

Of course, educational experts point to the value of summer reading for students to keep them in the habit of reading for pleasure and to help them retain what they have learned in the classroom.

With those thoughts in mind, area libraries are encouraging people to jump in the reading “pool” by offering a variety of water-themed reading programs for children and adults this summer.

Ohio County

For example, officials at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling are inviting patrons to “Make a Splash” “Be a Player” and “Water Your Mind” by participating in a summer reading program for children, young adults (middle school through high school) or adults. As a convenience, library patrons can sign up for all three programs at one central station in the children’s department at the downtown facility, said Lee Ann Cleary, children’s specialist.

The theme for the children’s summer reading program is “Make a Splash @ Your Library: READ!” Children from birth through fifth grade are eligible for this program. A child can read independently or be read to by others.

For every 15 minutes children read or are read to, they may add a sticker to their time logs, Cleary said. Each week, they may return the time log to the children’s department or library staff to receive a small prize and have their names displayed on a “Wall of Readers.”

Participants must complete eight hours of reading in order to receive a ticket to a finale party at Wheeling Park’s swimming pool at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, Cleary said. Completed time logs must be turned in to the children”s department or the circulation desk by Wednesday, Aug. 11.

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The Ohio County Public Library also is offering a number of family-friendly, special programs throughout the summer. These events are open to all ages unless otherwise specified. Registration is required for a few of the programs for which supplies must be ordered. Patrons can register in the children’s department or by calling the library at 304-232-0244.

Cleary said the series of special events for children opens at 6 p.m. Monday, June 7, with a session on water experiments led by Robert and Libby Strong from the SMART Science Center in Wheeling.

Events include a family film, the 2010 version of “Alice in Wonderland,” at 1 p.m. Friday, June 11. Family movies continue with “Surf’s Up” at 1 p.m. Friday, July 2, and “Finding Nemo” at 1 p.m. Friday, July 30. Free popcorn and beverages are served at each film session.

Another special event for children is a Campfire Family Story Time at Wheeling Park’s Schwertfeger Shelter at 6 p.m. Monday, June 14. The eventing will feature storytelling by Richard Knoblich of Wheeling, campfire songs by the Rev. Bob Willits of Wheeling and a marshmallow roast.

Children can learn to make candy sushi at the library at 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 15; registration is required for this program. Children, ages 9-12, can design and build a rubber band race car at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 17; registration also is required.

Youngsters also can “Get in the Shark Zone!” with stories, songs, crafts and games featuring sharks at 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 23. Children can go “Fishing for Laughs” with a program on jokes and making fun at 6 p.m. Monday, June 28.

Other events geared to children are a session on making duct tape beach bags at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 13; flip flop book crafts, 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, and fish print crafts at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3. Registration is required for the July programs.

Activities culminate with a special program presented by Curt Strutz, “The Bassmeister,” at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 6. Cleary said the entertaining program, for children and adults, features lessons on fishing and boating safety.

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In addition, the children’s department is again presenting a Kid’s Fun Day summer series at Centre Market in Wheeling. This year’s theme is “Splish, Splash, Read! @ Centre Market.” Paula Calvert, market manager, said, “The Centre Market strives to be a community partner.”

This year, Cleary said, the library and the market have received a grant from the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley to expand the program. As a result of that grant, each family whose children in the program’s age-eligibility range attend seven of the 10 weekly sessions will receive a bag of books at the end of the summer, Cleary said.

“We really appreciate the grant from the Community Foundation,” Calvert and Cleary said.

The Kid’s Fun Day sessions, which are geared for children, ages 4-8, begin at 11 a.m. on Thursdays and include stories, games, crafts, coloring sheets, floor puzzles and other interactive elements, Cleary said. Special sessions on fire safety and pool safety are planned, Calvert added.

The program, which began last week, continues for the next 10 Thursdays: June 10, June 17, June 24, July 1, July 8, July 15, July 22, July 29, Aug. 5 and Aug. 12.

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The theme for the young adult summer reading program at the Ohio County Public Library is “Be a Player @ the Library.” Coordinator Sherry Bender said the program is open to middle school and high school students.

Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 14, at a kick-off party where informational packets are distributed. Bender said three levels of participation are designed to fit any teen’s reading schedule. Each participant will select, sign and fulfill one reading contract for the summer program. The contract options are to read a total of eight hours, read a total of 480 pages or read a total of eight books this summer.

In addition, each teen must attend five or more programs this summer to earn an admission ticket to the pool party, Bender said. Summer reading contracts and reading logs must be completed and returned by Wednesday, July 22.

Special programs for teens will include playing board games, creating original games and participating in several games based on familiar television game shows.

Book Talk, a new program for teens, is being offered throughout the summer. Each week, a different book is discussed and free snacks and drinks are served. Bender said three books are featured: “The Lightning Thief,” “The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod” and “Hunger Games.”

High school students can receive credit for volunteer hours by being a partner with middle school students and initiating conversation at the sessions, Bender explained. The volunteer credit hours can be applied to a scholarship program, she said.

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Meanwhile, the theme for the Ohio County Public Library’s adult summer reading program is “Water Your Mind: Read.” Outreach services specialist Julia Bachmann said participants who read at least one hour a week may turn in a weekly reading log each Sunday for a weekly prize drawing on the following Monday morning.

Bachmann expressed “many thanks to the businesses of Centre Market” for donations of prizes for the adult program. Prizes are being donated by Center Cup Coffee, Coleman’s Fish Market, Later Alligator, Oliver’s Pies, The Soup Shack, Vineyard Church and Wood-n-Stitches, she said.

The first log for the period from today, June 6, to Saturday, June 12, must be turned in by Sunday, June 13, and the first drawing occurs Monday, June 14. The final drawing for the adult summer reading program is Monday, Aug. 16.

The adult summer reading series also features special related programming, beginning at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, with an educational session on “Lakes, Rivers and Streams: So What?”

The adult programs includes a sushi demonstration at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 30, with chef instructor Gene Evans from West Virginia Northern Community College’s culinary arts program. Samples will be available. Space is limited to 20 and registration is required.

The adult series continues at 1 p.m. Friday, July 23, when Evans offers a culinary garden tour. The program begins at the library, continues with a tour of the WVNCC garden and concludes in the kitchen where Evans prepares a dish with ingredients fresh from the garden. Registration is required.

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In addition to the special programs for adults, the library is holding its fifth annual Summer Monday Movie Matinee series. The theme for this summer’s series is “Water Your Mind.”

Sean Duffy, adult program coordinator, said a movie is projected onto a big screen in the library’s auditorium at 2 p.m. on eight Mondays: June 7, June 14, June 28, July 12, July 19, July 26, Aug. 2 and Aug. 9. Beverages and popcorn are provided for patrons free of charge..

All library programs are free and open to the public. For more information, call the library, 304-232-0244.

St. Clairsville

The St. Clairsville Public Library begins its summer reading program, also called “Make a Splash … READ!,” Monday, June 7. It continues through Saturday, July 31.

Children need to register and read books from the library to participate. Contests, games and crafts also are offered throughout the eight weeks of the summer program. The children’s department is decorated in the water theme.

This year, the library also has programs for the whole family, including a weekly program for all ages; a special program for children, ages 10 and older, and family movie nights.

Programs include Joyful Puppets on Tuesday, June 15; a Guitar Hero program for children, ages 10 and older, Wednesday, June 23; an Oglebay Good Zoo program Tuesday, July 20. Registration is required for the programs. For more information, call the library, 740-695-2062.

Martins Ferry

The Martins Ferry Public Library’s “Make a Splash -Read @ Your Library” program begins Tuesday, June 8. Summer storytime starts at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 9. Movie nights begin at 6 p.m. Monday, June 21, and continue through Monday, July 26.

Teens in grades 5-8 may participate in the “Make Waves – Read @ Your Library” program now through Sunday, Aug. 15. For every five books read, teens are entered into a drawing at the end of August.

To register a child or teen for summer reading and storytime, call 740-633-0314 or visit the library. All programs are free.

Summer reading events include:

  • Tuesday, June 8 – Good Zoo program.
  • Tuesday, June 15 – Martial arts master Joseph Seszko of Seszko Taekwon-Do.
  • Tuesday, June 22 – Ronald McDonald.
  • Tuesday, June 29 – Susan West presents “Make a Splash with Color.”
  • Tuesday, July 6 – Girl Scouts, “Water Fair Fun.”
  • Tuesday, July 13 – Lisa Millhouse leads game day with indoor beach ball and other games.
  • Tuesday, July 20 – Joyful Productions’ “Bonjo’s Big Splash.”
  • Tuesday, July 27 – Worm race.


“Make a Splash, Read!” also is the theme for the Summer Reading Club at Bellaire Public Library. Registration begins Monday, June 7, for area children from age 4 through those children entering eighth grade in the fall.

Story hour for children, age 4 through kindergarten, will be held in the children’s department from 11 a.m. to noon every Friday, beginning June 18 and continuing through July 30 (with the exception of July 2).

On the same dates, programs will be held for club members in grades 1-8 in the activity room at the library from 1-2 p.m.

A complete list of programs is available upon registration. Some programs for the older club members include “Make a Splash with Color” by the Ohio State University Extension Service and a series of three programs presented by Crossroads Counseling Service.

“Color My World”‘ and “Where Does the Rain Go?” will be presented by Oglebay Institute, sponsored by Chase Reach Award.

For more information, call Bellaire Public Library, 740-676-9421.


“Make a Splash Read!” also is the theme this summer at the Shadyside Branch Library where library patrons are invited to explore the worlds of water. The summer reading program is open to young people, preschool through young adult, with programs, prize drawings, story hours and other activities.

The summer reading program begins at the library in Shadyside at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 8, with sessions lasting about one hour. Registration for the program is under way.

For more information, call the library, 740-676-0506. All programs are free of charge.