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Libraries offer fun, learning with reading programs

Local libraries are offering an abundance of programs during the summer months to keep kids busy until school starts again in the fall.

The La Jolla/Riford Branch Library, University Community and the North University Community branch libraries, which are all branches of the San Diego Public Library, are having summer programs with the themes “Catch the Reading Bug” for infants 12 year olds and “Metamorphosis” for teenagers 13 to 18. Participants have the option of reading books relating to the theme, but are not required to do so. The programs run from mid-June to mid-August.

At the La Jolla/Riford Branch Library, and extra incentive is offered: For every 10 books a child reads or every 10 hours a teenager reads, they may select a free book and the library will donate a dollar to the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. A representative from the Humane Society will receive the check during the final program, a puppet show by the San Diego Guild of Puppetry.

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“We thought it would be a good idea to have an altruistic incentive,” said Laurie Bailey, who is the youth services librarian at the La Jolla/Riford Library. Bailey also said summer reading programs offer kids and teenagers the opportunities “to maintain and improve reading skills” and to read for fun, instead of being required to read for school.

Teenagers participating in the La Jolla Library’s teens-only reading club can enter the Altered Book Art Contest, where entrants may turn a withdrawn book into a piece of art and return it to the library by Aug. 2. The books will be displayed from Aug. 2-30 and the most original piece will win a prize.

The University Community Branch Library is offering exciting prizes to kids who participate in the summer reading program, including free admission to Legoland with the purchase of full admission, discounted tickets to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus on Aug. 14, library night, and a “Catch the Reading Bug” bookmark and reading log. For children who finish the program by reading either 10 juvenile books or 100 pages, prizes include free admission to the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, free admission for the Animal Grossology exhibition at the Reuben H. Fleet Space Center for children 12 and under, between Sept. 27 and Oct. 31, a “Catch the Reading Bug” temporary tattoo, magnetic photo frame door hanger and pencil.

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Teenagers who participate in the program will receive free admission to Legoland, discounted tickets to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus on Aug. 14 and a Metamorphosis bookmark and reading log. Teenagers who finish the program by reading either four young adult graphic novels or reading for 10 hours will receive free admission to the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, a Metamorphosis cell phone charm, mood pencil, sticky note and temporary tattoo.

A raffle will also be held on Aug. 16 for prizes such as iPods and flash drives. The University Community Branch Library will also be featuring performers at 11 a.m. on Thursday mornings in the Community Room, including the Love Bug Band on June 16, “Literature Comes to Life” by Stacey Wein on July 3, Craig Stone the Magician on July 17, Rahim the Entertainer on July 24 and Sparkles the Clown on Aug. 14. The summer reading program will conclude on Aug. 16 with a party with the Wild Wonders Animals, a raffle and free snacks. Raffle tickets can be earned by participants for the first three times they complete their readings.

The North University Community Branch Library’s summer program for children aged 0 to 18 will run from June 15 to Aug. 15. Events will be held on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. outside in the children’s patio unless otherwise noted, and will include shows by Sparkles the Clown and Craig Newton’s Bug Musical. Registration is required for the two shows by Birch Aquarium on Aug. 6, titled “Meet and Greet the Sea.” The summer reading program will conclude on August 13 with a show by Craig Stone the Magician and the End of Summer Reading Party.

The North University Community Branch Library will also be having a number of craft workshops, which will be held every Thursday in the community room at 3:30 p.m, and will run until Aug. 28. Workshops include painting with water, balloon sculpturing, henna or temporary glitter tattoos, weaving butterfly mats, making bug necklaces, special effects makeup, making a paper fish aquarium and “tie-dye” butterflies. Be sure to sign up at least one week in advance at the youth services desk.

For more information about the programs at the La Jolla Library, call Laurie Bailey, youth services librarian at 858-552-1656. For more information about the programs at the University Community Branch Library, contact Mark Harryman, youth services librarian at 858-552-1655. For more information about programs at the North Community Branch Library, call (858) 581-9637.