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The library goes to camp


By Kathy Pillatzki
Assistant Director
Henry County Library System

  The weather is warming up, the school year is winding down, and you know what that means! We’re just days away from another fantastic summer reading program. All five Henry County public libraries have a full slate of free, fun and fantastic literacy programs for kids, from babies all the way to teens.

  We’re aware, though, that it’s sometimes hard for families to get to the library, especially with so many parents working and our libraries open on a limited schedule. That’s why we’ve decided that this is the year The Library Goes to Camp!

  Each summer, Henry County Parks & Recreation conducts an eight-week day camp for school-age kids at five locations around the county. During a Chamber of Commerce E2 meeting with community leaders from the Board of Education, the Library System, and Parks and Recreation, a discussion arose about helping students keep their reading skills up during the summer. Since the Library System does this each year with their Vacation Reading Program, a partnership was developed between the Library System and the Parks and Recreation to address this need. After several discussions, a way was developed to add a literacy focus to the camp program, and The Library Goes to Camp was born!

  Because of logistics and the number of children involved, it was decided that it might be impractical for that many kids to visit the library at once, but the library could certainly visit them. Once a week during the day camp program, a representative from the library will visit each camp to deliver a box of themed books and present a related program and activity.

  Each library-in-a-box will contain 100 books on a variety of reading levels, plus activity sheets and ideas for ways to incorporate the theme of the week into other camp activities. Themes were selected to be of high interest to campers, such as Fun & Games, Wild Animals and Weird Science. The camp schedule will also include an independent reading time each day, when campers can select a book to read quietly or share with a friend.

  This partnership will enable the library system to reach 350 children ages 5-12 who might otherwise be unable to participate in the summer reading program. They will be signed up for the program and receive the same materials and incentives as those who sign up at the library.

  Most important, campers will have encouragement to maintain their reading skills over the course of the summer break. Research has shown that children who read regularly during the break are more likely to return to school in the fall ready to learn and needing less time to review what was taught in the spring. In addition, they will see that reading can be fun, and how it can be incorporated into many other activities.

  Assistance with coordinating The Library Goes to Camp was provided by E2: Economics and Education Task Force. Supple-mental funding for books and materials was provided through a partnership with the Henry County Board of Education.

  For more information on the summer reading program and a full calendar of library events, visit To learn more about the day camp program, visit



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