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Schlow Summer Reading Program Kicks Off on Friday

on May 29, 2018 6:00 AM

By David Pencek

The Memorial Day weekend is over, and that means the unofficial start of summer also has arrived. Barbecues, beach trips and swimming pools are all part of the experiences of summer, but so is another experience — reading.

Schlow Centre Region Library’s Summer Reading programs are ready to help participants have great reading experiences. This year’s programs feature the theme “Libraries Rock!” and begin Friday, June 1. Registration now is open at

When it comes to summer reading programs, some may have the misconception that the programs are only for children, designed to help prevent what’s called the “summer slide.” And, while the programs do help children continue reading while they aren’t in school, Schlow offers not only kids’ programs, but also programs for teens and adults. The teen program is for ages 12 to 17, and the adult program is for ages 18 and older.

“Summer reading isn’t just for kids. It’s an opportunity for teens and adults to investigate new topics, find a new favorite author or read just for fun,” said Maria Burchill, head of adult services at Schlow. “It helps teens to combat summer slide just as well as little kids, and for adults, it helps us keep our brains in tip-top shape.”

Burchill added that there also is a health benefit to reading.

“Reading is an important activity that allows us to come down from a hectic day,” she said. “It lowers our heart rate and helps us to relax in a way that TV or Internet surfing never can.”

Reading this summer also allows you an opportunity to win some great prizes. Participants have a chance to win weekly prizes and one of several grand prizes, including a Nintendo Switch, a Kindle Fire, a $100 gift card for Kranich’s Jewelers, a 2019 season pool pass from Centre Region Parks and Recreation and more. Weekly prizes include gift cards from local businesses, State Theatre tickets, free books and other items.

After registering, participants can log in and record their reading activities each day. They also can take part in reading quests, which include reading books from suggested genres and a special one this year that corresponds with the PBS miniseries “The Great American Read.” The show, which premiered May 22 and continues in the fall, “explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels.”

A list of the 100 books selected for the show is available on Schlow’s Summer Reading website.

“It will be fun to see what people read and vote for given the range of books on the list,” said adult services librarian Amy Madison. The list includes classics such as “The Catcher in the Rye” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and more modern books such as the Harry Potter series and “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

“Summer is a great time to read whatever you want just because you like it,” Madison said. “That’s why we don’t really assign books but suggest a few places to start looking for something good. We think summer reading is a time to explore new genres, new authors and discover your new favorite books.”

And, summer reading also can mean summer listening, as participants can log in books they listen to through audiobooks or eAudiobooks.

“Take a book hiking and open it at the top of the trail, or listen to an audiobook in the garden,” Madison said. “It’s really about focusing on and celebrating reading. I think the summer is a glorious time for reading.”

Schlow will hold a Summer Reading Kickoff Party from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Visitors can Celebrate the start of Summer Reading with Ike the Spike, Doc McStuffins, Clifford, Marshall the fire pup from "Paw Patrol," and Tigger. Patrons also can visit the Instrument Petting Zoo from 10 a.m. to noon to try exciting musical instruments, thanks to Robert M. Sides Family Music Center.

At 1 p.m., enjoy a ukulele concert and sing-along with the Allegheny Ukes. Adults and teens can take a crash course in ukulele playing from 2 to 3 p.m. or 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. Registration in advance is required.

Schlow also will host an Usborne Book Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when patrons can purchase kids' books and support the library at the same time. Purchases help Schlow earn books to use in its collection.

David Pencek is communications manager at Schlow Centre Region Library.

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