summer heat is too unbearable and you want a place to have fun while
staying cool, why not check out your local public library. Something
entertaining is planned for every member of the family in the free
summer programs at libraries throughout Southern Maryland.
Story time, take-home crafts, puppets, games, Nintendo Wii, movies,
tween and teen game nights, and so much more are available throughout
the summer and beyond in the Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's County
public libraries. Adults may join a photography, knitting, Spanish or
Prizes are given for reading at all Southern Maryland libraries. The
summer reading programs are part of a national program. At registration,
each participant receives a reading log to keep track of the books.
"There are reading logs for babies, young children, teens and adults,"
said Emily Ferren, director and children's librarian at the Charles
County Public Library. Completed reading logs earn prizes and will be
entered into a drawing for Baltimore Orioles baseball tickets. "It is
never too early to start reading to children," she said, adding one of
her favorite quotes, "children learn to read on their parents' laps."
Research tells us and Pat Hofmann, director of the Calvert Library,
agrees, "that when children read what they enjoy, they learn to love
reading and become better readers. Encouraging children to read while
having fun helps maintain and increases their reading skills."
Kathleen Reif, director of the St. Mary's County Library, said the
library encourages reading during the summer so children don't lose
their reading skills during the vacation months. "We plan a wide variety
of programs and activities to keep families and children coming to their
library to check out books," Reif said.
However, there is more to do at the library than read a book.
Spectacular professional performances, different in each county, are
also available during the summer. For example, "Reptile World is one of
our most popular shows, which includes a live alligator, an anaconda and
a cobra," said Beverly Izzi, coordinator of the Children's Department at
the Calvert Library.
At St. Mary's County Library, Goody Norman, a fictional indentured
servant, "takes us back in time" and speaks about her journey at sea
presented by the St. Clement's Island Museum staff. Also, "The Lost
Vaudevillian," recreates 20th century vaudeville through storytelling
and physical comedy.
The Charles County Public Library offers "The Art of Writing" by
National Geographic, teaching children ages 6 to 11 how to create a
book. "Bach to Rock" offers a basic history of Johann Sebastian Bach
using electronics to teach children how to create music.
The library of yesterday is not the library of today. "You can search
for all library items online now," said Sharan Marshall, executive
director for the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association in
Charlotte Hall. "You can even place a hold on the item you want and
choose what branch to have it delivered to," she added. The association
sponsors and maintains online information resources, which can be
accessed from any Internet connection at home, in the office or at the
The region's libraries offer computers with high-speed Internet and
wireless access for laptops in an effort to keep up with modern
technology. "You can download a book to your MP3 player in three to four
minutes," said Marshall.
"Children as young as 8 (years old) are allowed on the computers, with
their parent's supervision," said Cynthia Lawrence, public service
librarian at the Calvert Library's Prince Frederick branch.
On Aug. 21, summer reading participants can celebrate Southern Maryland
Library Night with the Blue Crabs at the Regency Furniture Stadium in
Waldorf. Each participant receives a free lawn seat ticket found in the
registration packet. Library users can get a discount for tickets (all
seats) by using the promo code found on their library's Web site.
The first l,000 fans receive a free T-shirt. Participants can also march
in the parade with Pinch, the Blue Crabs' mascot, and the Library Mascot
Sneaks. Enjoy fireworks after the game. "Gov. (Martin) O'Malley has been
invited to throw the first pitch," said Marshall.
Southern Maryland libraries are filled with treasure troves of
information and plenty of fun. All dates, locations and times are on the
Web and available at the library branches.
Southern Maryland Libraries
8120 Southern Maryland Blvd., Owings
850 Costley Way
P.O. Box 599, Lusby
Twin Beaches Branch
3819 Harbor Road Chesapeake Beach
La Plata Branch
2 Garrett Ave., La Plata 301-934-9001
P.D. Brown Memorial Branch
50 Village St., Waldorf
3225 Ruth B. Swann Dr. Indian Head
ST. MARY'S COUNTY:
Charlotte Hall Branch
37600 New Market Road
23250 Hollywood Road
Lexington Park Branch
21677 FDR Blvd.
Southern Maryland Regional Library Association: