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Libraries set to kick off reading program

Jonesboro student Mikayla Clark reads a book at the Headquarters Library Tuesday. The 9-year-old said she is looking forward to the library system's summer reading program, which begins Friday.

Jonesboro student Mikayla Clark reads a book at the Headquarters Library Tuesday. The 9-year-old said she is looking forward to the library system's summer reading program, which begins Friday.

— The school year ends this week and that means “no more books” right?

Well, that’s not exactly the way Clayton County Library System officials see it.

While schools are winding down operations this week, librarians are getting ready to launch their annual summer reading program Friday. It is a time to encourage everyone from children to senior citizens to do more reading.

“Our goal is basically to get people of all ages to develop a lifelong love of reading and to develop their recreational reading habits,” said Janice Arcuria, the library system’s assistant director of youth services.

The summer reading program has a “digging” theme this year. The theme for children under 11 is “Dig into Reading.” The theme for teenagers is “Beneath the Surface” and the theme for adults is “Groundbreaking reads.”

Librarians encourage people to read a wide variety of materials ranging from novels to autobiographies to comic books to newspapers. Arcuria said children who read more often during the summer have stronger reading and comprehension skills once the school year begins.

“They lose some of their reading skills if they don’t read over the summer, but if they do read then they maintain or improve those skills,” she said.

Bea Mengel, youth services librarian for the Headquarters Library, said librarians visited Clayton County schools this spring to drum up interest in the program.

“There’s been a lot of interest this year and that may be because we have a slew of new programs this summer,” Mengel said.

Those programs include visits from Zoo Atlanta officials and an archeology-themed “archeo-bus,” she added. Mengel also said there is also a new program for pre-school students this summer so they can begin to learn letters and get ready to read books.

Children and teenagers are asked to register for the program at their local library. They will receive a reading log sheet, a pencil and a sticker when they register, said Arcuria.

Jonesboro student Mikayla Clark, 9, was getting ready to begin the program Tuesday. She had a stack of five books she planned to check out from the headquarters library. Clark, who won reading awards at Arnold Elementary School this year, said she is looking forward to spending the summer reading.

“I will probably reach my goal to read 200 books this summer,” said Clark, who added that she loves to read fantasy books.

The children are asked to read during the week and then bring in their log sheets to librarians to receive a small prize for their efforts. Free books are given as prizes to young children who read 18 books or accumulate 12 hours of reading, and to teenagers who log 10 hours.

The summer reading program ends in late August, said Arcuria. A calendar of library programs can be found at www.claytonpl.org.

More than 4,800 children and teenagers participated in the program last year, and 1,547 of them did enough reading to win a book. Participants read more than 98,506 books and made 10,137 trips to libraries.

Residents can sign up for the program at the following library branch locations:

Headquarters Branch

865 Battle Creek Road

Jonesboro

Forest Park Branch

4812 West St.

Jonesboro Branch

124 Smith St.

Lovejoy Branch

1721 McDonough Road

Morrow Branch

6225 Maddox Road

Riverdale Branch

420 Valley Hill Road SW