Between Alex and Harper outgrowing Mr. Will’s fabulous storytime at the Destin Library and the ease of convenience of electronic books (including those available through the library website), I don’t take the kids to the library as often as I should.



Generally, I update my “wish list” of books and wait for the email to come in that I have some on hold, waiting for me at the circulation desk. It’s been too long since we’ve visited with Mark Twain, explored the “secret gardens” or browsed the newly redesigned stacks looking for our new favorite books. 



This, I am promising myself and Alex and Harper, will change this summer.



I was so excited to receive an email from the library staff outlining all the summer programs and activities they have planned. Designed to encourage reading on all levels, the library is proposing a wide variety of activities suitable for readers of all ages.



Beginning the first week in June, kids can keep track of their summer reading accomplishments and turn in their completed reading logs for merchandise coupons to be redeemed at participating merchants.



I know I can be a little “soft” on independent reading during the summer, so hopefully these incentives will keep us all on track. In case I need a little extra help, The Summer Reading Tips for Parents Workshop is designed to provide guidance and support for parents and caregivers who are looking for effective strategies to keep their kids reading during the summer.



Since it’s never too early to start a book club, first through third graders can participate in the library’s Summer Reading Club. Aimed at encouraging children to embrace reading, the club will utilize tried and true book club exercises, like discussion questions along with age appropriate exercises designed to increase vocabulary and comprehension skills. The library will make selections from its own collection. The summer reading club begins at the end of June, and runs weekly through July.



We all know that reading together is an important piece of the literary puzzle, and the new Reading Buddies Program pairs early, independent readers with more experienced volunteer student mentors. The volunteers will work with your reader one-on-one, providing guided reading, vocabulary, and comprehension skills support.



Hopefully, some of these volunteer readers can offer some suggestions, so we don’t have to revisit the same books over and over again.



The library is always looking for ways to keep books and reading relevant. On Tuesday afternoons, the library will host a complimentary summer movie series. Open to children in the first through fifth grades, the films will be linked to or based on popular children’s literature. Participation is limited to the first 30 students, so be sure to pre-register! Older kids (grades 5-10) will appreciate the iPad Users group session, which will introduce them to the library’s e-book library as well as provide tips about safely using e-readers and tablets.



I still think my dream job might be working in the library, surrounded by books and the people who love them. If I were 16, I’d jump at the library’s summer internship program. Open to four young adults who are interested in library science or acquiring community service hours, the program is scheduled for four hours every Wednesday beginning at the end of June. 



Please contact the library staff for details.



All these programs are generously managed by the library staff, but they will require some community support to be successful. If you are interested in volunteering and donating your time, talents, and expertise, contact Mr. Will via email at wrogers@cityofdestin.com.  Be sure to “Like” the library on Facebook for the most up to date information about library events and programs as well.



Follow Susan Moody on Twitter @susanjmoody and visit her blog, The Emerald Coast Insider, at www.emeraldcoasttreasurebox.com.