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May 28, 2008 > Info Brain: Summer at the library

Info Brain: Summer at the library

By Patricia Ryan

School is out - what are you going to do with the kids? This is a very special time at Tri-City Libraries. Every summer, libraries all over the world kick into high gear with a Summer Reading Game and programs of all kinds. Alameda County Library's 2008 Summer Reading Game for children is Catch the Reading Bug! Starting Monday, June 9th, children can come into their favorite Library Branch to sign up and get a game board. Even pre-readers can play, and if an older child or parent reads to a younger child, both can count the time. For every 30 minutes spent in reading, color in one ladybug on the game board. Then bring the board in to the Library, any time between June 16 and August 16, and start spinning and stamping. When you complete your first bingo row, you win! And if you continue to play and stamp the entire board, you win more prizes.

But that's not all! Teens have their own Teen Summer Reading Program, Freak Encounters - Explore the Unexplained. The teen readers will also get prizes for time spent reading whatever they choose. Even adults can participate in Timeless Reads, A Reading Game for Adults. Read any book you consider worth reading again, and enter a drawing at your local Branch Library for weekly prizes of coffee or chocolates. Everyone who enters is eligible for the grand prize at the end of the summer game, so come to any Alameda County Library Branch to have fun, read, and win!

Middle school students can earn community service hours as KidPower volunteers. Contact your nearest branch or the Library website at
for dates and times. Orientations and trainings are usually held in late May and early June. KidPower kids commit to work a minimum number of hours over the summer helping other kids sign up for and play the reading game. They also help with other programs over the summer, while having fun and making new friends. Library staff couldn't do it without our volunteers and really appreciate the help.

No matter what your age, or which reading program you participate in, you might win prizes, but the best prize of all is the never ending, always changing, adventure of reading. Don't have a Library card? You don't really need one to use the Library, but it's easy to get one and it can open up all kinds of doors for you. You can check out books, magazines, books on CD, DVDs, and use our Internet computers. When you access the Library's website,, in the Library or from home, you can also use databases filled with a wealth of information.

Be sure to check the Library website for listings of all the special family programs scheduled at Alameda County Libraries this summer. There are magicians, musicians, jugglers, ventriloquists, story tellers, puppets and craft programs scheduled for your enjoyment, and like all Library programs, they are free! Although you don't have to buy a ticket, sometimes space is limited so you might have to sign up ahead of time to make sure you can get in.
Summer programs and prizes are funded in part by the Alameda County Library Foundation, Oracle and the Giants, RoundTable Pizza, Lawrence Hall of Science, and local Friends of the Library groups.

Patricia Ryan is the Children's Services Librarian at Union City Library.

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