Readers encouraged to 'make a splash' this summer

Summer is traditionally a time associated with building sand castles and going swimming at the beach, or the neighborhood pool, but Clayton County library officials are encouraging local residents to begin dipping into a pool of a different sort.

It is a pool occupied by the likes of Harry Potter, Tom Sawyer, Wolverine, Scarlett O'Hara, Sherlock Holmes, Garfield the Cat, and Oliver Twist. It is the pool known as literature.

The library system is kicking off its involvement in the Georgia Public Library Service's annual Summer Reading Program, on Saturday. According to the state-wide library service's web site, the theme for this year's program is "Make a Splash @ Your Library."

The program is designed to promote reading among people of all ages, but it is particularly focused on children, and turning them into lifelong readers, according to Bea Mengel, the youth services librarian at the Clayton County Library System's headquarters branch. "There is no specific county this is done for," Mengel said. "If children from Henry, Fayette or Spalding counties want to participate, they are welcome to do so. We're trying to encourage them to read all summer long."

As the Clayton County Library has done in previous years, it will continue to give out reading rewards to children. Starting Saturday, children can sign up for the program at any of the six branches of the Clayton County Library System, and receive a reading log sheet, Mengel said. The youths can come by the library branch once a week, show their reading log, and receive a free gift, such as pencils or erasers.

"And, if they read 18 books, or for nine hours, they can receive a free paperback book," Mengel said. The rewards will continue until Aug. 7.

It is not only books that people can read, however. "They can read comic books, newspapers, magazines, or online articles, as long as they're keeping track of the amount of time they spend reading," Mengel said. She later added that, "We want them to be reading for recreation during the summer. We want them to read for fun, and find stuff they want to read."

The Clayton County Library System has branches at:

• Headquarters Branch, 865 Battle Creek Rd., Jonesboro.

• Forest Park Branch, 696 Main St., Forest Park.

• Jonesboro Branch, 124 Smith St., Jonesboro.

• Lovejoy Branch, 1721 McDonough Road., Hampton.

• Morrow Branch, 6225 Maddox Road, Morrow.

• Riverdale Branch, 420 Valley Hill Road, Riverdale.

On the Net:

Clayton County Library System: www.claytonpl.org

Georgia Public Library Service: www.georgialibraries.org