As the school year comes to an end, Columbia County library staffers are gearing up for the annual Summer Reading Program.
"It is our busy season," said Mary Lin Maner, the Columbia County Library manager.
More than 2,000 people, mostly children and teenagers, spent their summer vacations reading for the program in 2009, said children's librarian Pam Link.
This year's program starts Friday, with themes of Make a Splash for elementary school children and Make Waves for teenagers.
Reading in summer helps keep reading and writing skills sharp until classes resume in August, and kids really enjoy reading for the program because they choose the books they read, Maner said.
"Keep them reading, keep them interested," she said.
A free opening party for the program will be from 1-3 p.m. Sunday behind the library in Evans.
Maner said there will be several water attractions, including a water slide tunnel, in addition to a rock-climbing wall, face-painting and the Abatsu African Drummers performing at 2 p.m.
"The Splash Pad will be on for the kids," Maner said.
Auggie, the Augusta GreenJackets mascot, will be there, and tickets to the July 23 game, which is Friends of the Library night, will be for sale.
To complete the program, elementary school children must read or have 30 books read to them. Older children must read for 15 hours. Folders will be available Friday at all three library branches -- Evans, Harlem and Euchee Creek.
Participating readers must return their folders before July 31 to receive completion certificates and prizes.
"When they turn in their folder, they'll get to pick a book to keep with them," Maner said.
Participants also might receive gift certificates and goody bags.
The program includes adults for the second year with a theme of Water Your Mind.
"We had a lot of adults who participated, so that was good," Maner said. "I think they enjoyed it, too."
For information on the programs, contact Columbia County Library at (706) 863-1946.
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