The Lebanon-Wilson Public Library wrapped its Children's Summer Reading Program with a celebratory splash party on Thursday.
Deputy Library Director and Children's Librarian Nancy Fowler said a total of 1,774 children enrolled in the six-week program, which began the first week of June. The Teen and Adult Summer Reading Programs garnered over 100 participants each; however, the numbers show that the children's program, open to ages 0 to sixth grade - is the most popular.
Fowler explained that over the summer a child's reading level can go down because they are not exposed to books on a daily basis, like when they are during the school year. "This allows them to keep their reading levels up for when they go back to school and also it is reading for fun," she said. "They aren't tested and they are not required to read at a certain level. It is recommended, but they are able to choose."
In addition to reading and obtaining prizes - such as a day pass to the Jimmy Floyd Family Center - kids were invited to enjoy live shows at the library each week. Over the summer the library welcomed performers including musician Barry Mitchell, balloon artist Scott Tripp and former President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Dennis Boggs. They also learned about animals in presentations by the Nashville Zoo, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Safari Greg. Other guests included Ronald McDonald and the Lebanon Fire Department, who provided a fire truck for children to explore.
The final show took place on Wednesday, July 8, when Safari Greg introduced his young audience to an assortment of reptiles - "Pop" the corn snake was a favorite.
Greg told kids that corn snakes got their name from living around farms - and that they were known as a farmer's friend because of their ability to ward off pests. He also rattled off facts about snakes, such as they use their tongues to smell things around them.
Fowler said the programs, which were free to participants and their families, were included in the Library's annual budget. "Our biggest crowd was about 500 at each of the Nashville Zoo performances," she added.
Parent Richard Riggs brought his two children, Johnathan, 12, and Mia, 8, to the library all summer. He said it gave them something to do "other than just play with electronics" and helped them learn about new things.
Although her twins, Allie and Benny, 4, are not yet in school - parent Lisa Halbert enrolled them in the program too.
"They got more out of it that I ever expected," she said. "I am so glad that we did this."
Halbert said that each week they would go to the library as a family and the twins would get to pick five books each. Some of their favorite programs were seeing Snow Bird, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald McDonald.
Both Allie and Benny agreed that their best day at the library was the party on Thursday. The party included a waterslide, inflatable bounce house and wade pool for small children.
For more information on the Lebanon-Wilson Public Library, go to www.wilsoncolibrary.org.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.