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‘Tails and Tales’ coming to library this summer

By Laurie Lyda

Rowan Public Library

SALISBURY — Each year, Rowan Public Library launches a summer program series for all ages that promotes the joy and value of reading.  This summer, programs for children, teens and adults are planned in conjunction with “Tails and Tales,” the 2021 Collaborative Summer Library Program.

“This year’s theme has worked well for children’s staff,” said Children’s Associate Robert Jones. “It’s been a lot of fun to think about how to connect the physical animal world and narratives with our programming.”

The focus remains on literacy and helping students and learners of all ages.

“It’s important to provide learning support to our community,” said Sydney Smith, Young Adult Librarian and East Branch Site Supervisor. “This can be especially important for learners who are in school, as the infamous ‘summer slide’ can strike at any age and grade level. Participating in Summer Reading is a good way to keep ourselves in learning mode year-round.”

Summer reading participants are organized by age bracket: children, teens and adults. Each reader tracks their hours and the  total qualifies them to win prizes within their bracket. Registration is now open.

Participants can register online via READsquared or at any branch: RPL Headquarters (Salisbury), RPL East (Rockwell), RPL South (China Grove), or beginning June 1, RPL West (Cleveland). This year, reading hours can be logged May 27 through Aug. 7.

All registrants receive a prize. Ages 14 and under receive a free book; ages 15 and up may choose between a free book or a coupon for a free book at the Friends of Rowan Public Library’s Second Saturday Bookshop, open every second Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and located in the West End Plaza.

Director Melissa Oleen offers these reassurances: “Readers accrue hours in many ways — by listening to audiobooks, by reading to someone (or by being read to), and all kinds of reading materials count, including periodicals, graphic novels and more.”

With the emphasis on reading and literacy, visual texts like films and paintings are not included in the reading hours tracked.

To keep a good account of everyone’s hours, the Library uses READsquared for records. The program ensures accurate tracking of the reading hours logged.

Participants have the option of either directly tracking their hours through the online tool or using paper logs.

“We encourage participants to use READsquared because it can be accessed by all personal devices and allows participants the freedom to officially log their reading from anywhere and at any time — a lot of our readers enjoy watching their hours increase in real time,” said Abigail Hardison, Adult Services Supervisor.

RPL staff have been trained in READsquared’s use and can help with questions about registration, logging hours, or claiming prizes. Participants can drop by their nearest branch for assistance, or they can schedule an in-person or virtual Tech Stop to learn more.

Paper logs will also be made available. It will be up to the individual to submit their completed logs to their nearest branch before the cut-off date; staff will then input those hours into READsquared.

The library will feature free takeaway activities/kits that are designed for each age bracket, in addition to special programming. Supplies provided in takeaway kits are the recipients’ to keep.

“Over the past year, takeaway kits have proven to be extremely popular,” said Hardison. “We hope to build on that by offering the option to package Summer Reading takeaway kits.”

Children under 10 can choose up to four, with two designed for ages 0 to 5 and two for ages 6 to 10. Teens (ages 11 to 17) and adults (ages 18 and up) each receive a deluxe kit with two activities.

You can register for takeaway kits at bit.ly/RPLSummerKits. The registration form works for everyone — from an individual who only wants one or two of the kits in their age bracket to a family who needs several kits for different ages.

Once someone has registered for their kit(s), staff will assemble the registrants’ request, and notify them when it is ready for pick up at their chosen branch. Kits are available while supplies last; pick ups begin June 1.

“This will allow parents and guardians, especially, to plan their trips to the Library. They can pick up all of their kits right off, and then complete the activities at home whenever they like,” said Smith. “Or, they can choose to register one-by-one as the summer progresses — the danger in that, though, is that the supply may run out.”

Special programs are planned to supplement reading hours and take away kit activities. All programs are open to the public, though some age restrictions may apply.

All in-person programs will be held in accordance with current executive orders regarding social distancing, mask requirements and capacity. For more information or for assistance with ADA accommodations, call 704-216-8240.

Virtual programming produced by RPL staff will be posted to the Library’s YouTube channel and shared via Facebook (@rowanpubliclibrary) and Twitter and Instagram (both @rowanlibrarync).

RPL-produced programs remain on the Library’s YouTube channel for viewing at any time.

Summer Reading for Children

Children’s summer reading is designed to include children ages 10 and under and includes incentives for reading hours logged, plus take away activities and programming. Programs will be held in-person and virtually.  The line up includes productions from regional storytellers and RPL’s expert children’s staff.

Ages 10 and under earn prizes after logging 5, 10, 15, and 20 reading hours. Children who earn 20 points will receive a special certificate and be entered into a Super Reader Raffle, which will be held August 9. Prize sponsors at the time of this printing include South Main Book Company and the Friends of Rowan Public Library.

There are four activity options for children’s take away kits. While each is designed for a specific age group, children 10 and under may select whichever activities they will most enjoy: “Animal Masks” and “Pom Pom Shaggy Dog” are designed for ages 0 to 5, and “DIY Bird Feeder” and “DIY Tie Dye” are designed for ages 6 to 10.

Weekly in-person children’s “Tails & Tales” Storytimes begin June 7 and run through July 30. These outdoor, interactive-at-a-distance programs are designed for children ages 10 and under. RPL children’s staff will lead these programs. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under.

“Tails & Tales” Storytime (age 10 and under)

Headquarters (Salisbury) Thursdays 10:30 a.m.

South (China Grove)   Wednesdays 10:30 a.m.

East (Rockwell) Tuesdays 10:30 a.m.

West (Cleveland) Mondays 10:30 a.m.

RPL will also host a School Age Summer Reading program series, designed for rising Kindergarten through 5th graders, though all ages are welcome. Scheduled performers include Dare Devil Dogs, The Story Ship, Talewise, Jon Sundell, ecoEXPLORE, and more! A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. Programs last approximately one hour. See dates and times in the detailed listing of RPL Summer Reading programs.

Summer Reading for Teens

Teens’ Summer Reading is designed for rising 6th through 12th graders and includes reading incentives, a deluxe take away kit and related how-to video, and virtual writers club meetings.

Teen readers (ages 11 to 17) earn raffle tickets by converting points earned from reading hours; teens can then select which raffles they want to enter.

This summer’s take away kit designed for teens, “Backyard Wildlife,” offers two activities: a homemade birdfeeder and a plantable seed bomb. Each kit contains the supplies needed to make each craft. A how-to video detailing the steps to make the homemade birdfeeder will be posted to RPL’s YouTube channel on June 1, and then shared periodically via the Library’s social media accounts.

The Virtual Teen Writers’ Club for ages 11 to 17 returns this summer for members to compare work, share tips, and enjoy the overall love of the writing craft. The group meets on Google Meet and uses Google Drive to complete weekly exercises and live prompts, participate in peer-to-peer reviews, and engage in discussion. The virtual club meets June 10, June 24, July 8, and July 22. Each meeting runs from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information about this program series, contact Brittney at Brittney.Peters@rowancountync.gov.

Summer Reading for Adults

Adults’ Summer Reading is designed for ages 18 and up (including 2021 high school graduates) and includes reading incentives, a deluxe take away kit and related how-to video, a short story contest, and virtual programs.

Reading hours logged by adult readers (ages 18 and up, including 2021 high school graduates) determine their eligibility for tiered prizes, and they will automatically be entered into drawings.

The adult take away kit, “Creative Critters,” offers two activities: “Companions on Canvas” provides the supplies to create a miniature portrait of your favorite animal, including a mini canvas, paint, carbon paper, brush, and instructions. A how-to video for this activity will be posted to RPL’s YouTube channel on June 1, and then shared periodically via the Library’s social media accounts. The second activity is “Color the Collections,” a selection of animal-themed images from #ColorOurCollections, a database that includes images from institutions around the world, and a pack of colored pencils.

Do you enjoy writing short fiction? Do your stories include animals? Would you like to win an award certificate and a gift basket from Salisbury’s Critters Gift Shop? If so, then the “Tails & Tales Short Story Contest” is for you! Writers ages 18 and up are eligible for this contest that runs from June 1 to July 16. Contenders are short stories that feature an animal as a prominent character or offer an animal’s perspective. Eligible entries must be original works of prose in English that do not exceed 5,000 words. Limit of one submission per author.

Submissions must be in PDF format and emailed to info@rowancountync.gov by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 16, and must include a cover page with the author’s name and current contact information. Do not include the author’s name on the actual story. Judges are not allowed to see the author’s name. Submissions that do not follow the guidelines are automatically disqualified. The winner of the “Tails & Tales Short Story Contest” will be announced on Aug. 2.

“Reading RoCo: Tails & Tales” is a virtual program series showcasing special animals in Rowan County. In partnership with local habitats, RPL staff will share what makes the chosen animals special and highlight reading materials to help viewers learn more. These pre-recorded, virtual programs will be posted to RPL’s YouTube page and shared via the Library’s social media channels at Noon on June 23, July 7, and July 21. Viewers are invited to share pictures of their pets in the comments, too!

The Virtual Book Bites Book Club will meet live via Zoom on June 4 and July 9; both meetings run from Noon to 1 p.m. Zoom allows participant access via video or audio. June’s book is Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” and July’s is Jane Smiley’s “Perestroika in Paris.” This book club is for ages 18 and up. For more information or to obtain a copy of the month’s novel, contact Paulette at Paulette.Stiles@rowancountync.gov.

The Virtual Adult Writers’ Club for ages 18 and up offers members an online community of local writers. Discuss the writing craft, share and discuss your work, and engage in peer-to-peer reviews while finding resources and getting tips on publication. The group meets via Google Meet and uses Google Drive. The virtual club meets June 9, June 23, July 7, and July 21. Each meeting runs from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information about this program series, contact Brittney at Brittney.Peters@rowancountync.gov.

Summer Reading 2021 is generously sponsored by the Friends of Rowan Public Library. For more information about READsquared, reading incentives, take away kits, or programming, contact your nearest branch or visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org.

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