Living Democracy

Elba Public Library checks out summer fun

After a year of little activity due to the pandemic, the staff at the Elba Public Library are excited to continue their annual summer program. Each year’s theme is specific and corresponds with the National American Library Association’s national collaborative summer reading program at public libraries across the nation.

This summer, the focus is on “Tales and Tails”.  On Thursday, June 3, the library held its first special summer program event downtown at the Elba Theatre. A group from the Alabama Archives and History office visited to share with the children about Alabama animals.

The summer program is normally in full swing as early as June each year and concludes after July 4, with many literacy activities included to prepare children for school in the fall. Jennifer Amlong, library director at the Elba Public Library, explained that program activities include arts and crafts, music, story time and games to keep the children entertained.

“There’s all kinds of statistics that show that children who are not encouraged to read during the summer slide back. So, kids who don’t participate in summer reading by the time they reach 5th grade are way behind. The program encourages kids to read all summer and use their brain so that they don’t have what they call the summer slide,” she said.

About 40 children show up every day to experience the fun-filled activities that the program has to offer. The age group among the children varies with students from as early as pre-school to as old as high school students. Each age group visits at least twice a week.

All children are welcomed to be a part of the summer experience, and the program is open to children from the rural areas and surrounding communities such as New Brockton.

A reading competition is also included with a reward at the end of the program for one individual from each group that reads the most pages. The daily schedule for the ‘Tails and Tales’ Summer Learning Program at the Elba Public library can be found at the library’s website at https://www.elbaalabama.net/public-library.

Many children find the experience is a great way to spend time together in the summer. However, Amlong said there is always room for more. She added there is a need for volunteers and that she always encourages teens to volunteer.

“It’s not just about books. It’s about all the things that we offer here at the library. Hopefully, we can introduce that to the children while they are here so that they know it’s not just a place to get books as we do have fun at the library,” she added.

By Oquendo Bernard
Last Updated: June 16, 2021