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Library kicks off summer reading program

By Mary Stewart | The Selma Times-Journal

The Selma-Dallas County Public Library was filled with excited faces on Monday as the library kicked off its summer reading programs.

The children in Selma aren’t the only ones who have been patiently waiting for the summer series, the library staff has been too.

“We are just thrilled. This is the high point of our year,” said library executive director Becky Nichols. “We look forward every year to the start of the summer programs. Kids are out of school, and it’s time to have fun and enjoy the library.”

This summer will have tons of activities for all ages to enjoy.

“We are just having a great time,” she said. “We have magic shows, animal shows, crafts, music and a million things that are planned for the next eight weeks.”

Alana Smith, a young reader, has been going to the summer library programs for years, and she loves it.

“I like to read because it gives me knowledge,” she said.

Some of her favorite books include Junie B. Jones, Super Surprise and Heidi Hecklebeck.

“I’ve been reading since I was 3 years old,” Smith said. “I like to pick out books.”

Ashley Peak, who enjoys bringing her kids to the library, said she has seen the huge impact the library has made on her son’s life.

“Reading is crucial for children at a young age for so many different reasons,” Peak said. “Reading just makes a huge difference in kids’ lives, and the earlier you start the more interested they will be when they’re older.”

Peak’s son is learning to read now, but she knows with the help of the library he will make great gains this summer.

“The Selma library is one of the best things that Selma has to offer for children,” Peak said. “There’s always new and different things to do, and anybody can come. I think that all the summer activities are great for getting kids here to do fun activities and then encouraging them to read from there.”

The theme of this summer’s program is “Build a Better World.”

“Our theme is taken from the fact that we feel like our world just needs a little help, and we think kids are a great way to get good honest answers,” Nichols said.

There will be a contest for children to submit ideas of ways we can build a better world going on throughout the summer. The contest will be divided by age into four categories which are: children under 5, ages 6-8, 9-12, and 13-18.

“Everything from pick up litter, which of course is a great idea all the way to building something that the community needs or develop something that isn’t being developed,” Nichols said. “I talked to the mayor earlier before school got out, and he’s excited about it because of course he wants to build a better Selma, and this is a great way to do it.”

The library will have a brand new program for older kids to enjoy this summer called the “Picasso Series.” It is an art series that will begin on June 28.

“We have got classes all the way from art and drawing to pottery,” she said. “A couple of artists are coming from Birmingham to do silk screening, and then we are ending with a tremendous community drum jam.”

The new program comes from a grant with the library, the Black Belt Community Foundation, and the local art guild.

“We are asking older boys and girls to participate in this because we think these are some real tremendous opportunities to meet artists and to develop some skills that might be within each one of those,” Nichols said.

The library will be open all summer to encourage reading to all ages.

“I love seeing people come together in great fellowship and fun, and I love to see kids get excited about reading and learning,” Nichols said.