A hot, sunny afternoon on June 8 set the stage for the base library's kick-off of this year's Summer Reading Program. Kids of all ages began lining up outside the library at 2 p.m. to receive their game tickets and bingo cards.
Though most of the activities for the kick-off party didn't involve reading, they revolved around this year's program theme, "Voyage to Book Island." Along with making hula girl puppets and playing limbo inside, outdoor activities included water balloons, a sack race and hula hoop tossing.
Camy Shearon, stepdaughter of Kim Knutzen, said that after she was through putting the finishing touches on her hula girl puppet she was really looking forward to throwing some water balloons. Shearon was also excited to start reading, and her book of choice this summer is "Sophie the Hero" by Lara Bergen.
"It's where Sophie saves this little girl who runs out in front of a car," Shearon described.
Next to the puppet-making station, children were gathered around library volunteer Dan Mott, a member of the 75th Air Base Wing, as he read "If I Ran the Zoo" by Dr. Suess.
Outside, Ashley Spratlen, daughter of Kellie Spratlen, held very still as Misty Wellborn, a library aide, painted a colorful rainbow on her cheek. Ashley is really looking forward to reading more Junie B. Jones books, all by Barbara Park, this summer.
"My favorite book is Froggy," Ashley added, describing her favorite set of books about a character named Froggy and written by Johnathan London and Frank Remkiewicz.
"We don't have enough shelves at home," Kellie said as she described what an avid reader Ashley is. As for the Summer Reading Program, Kellie approves.
"I think it's excellent," she said. "It reinforces what the public schools are doing with the 20 minutes (of reading) a day."
As Lisa Minnich watched her sons Nicholas and Andrew compete in a sack race, she commented that she thinks the incentives the Summer Reading Program provides for readers are great.
"It helps them to keep reading over the summer," she said. "Sometimes it can be hard to get them to read in the summer."
The Minniches participate in the Summer Reading Program each summer. "They do the Summer Reading Program every year and they've never had a party like this," Minnich said.
Whether it was the fun in the sun activities or the excitement over Book Island, the library has had at least 210 children register for the program.
"I'm really excited about the turnout and how successful we've been," Moira Tyrell, library manager, said. Pretty much everyone who signed up attended the activity, and registration at the door brought us up to about 250 participants, she added.
"We need to follow up with something better next year," Tyrell said as she helped three girls get ready to compete in the sponge race.
The Summer Reading Program will continue through Aug. 3 and children ages 5 to 17 are encouraged to participate. Those younger than age 5 are also able to participate by having their parents read to them. Program participants must read a minimum of 20 minutes a night each week, which is then written in their reading logs. Each Tuesday the library will host activities and prizes will be awarded to readers.
Registration for the program continues through the summer and those interested can enroll by visiting the base library or by calling (801) 777-3833.