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Summer Reading Program set for May launch

GPLS News, April 2016

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Summer Reading Program set for May launch

With the theme "On Your Mark, Get Set...READ!" the 2016 Summer Reading Program (SRP) at Georgia's public libraries will be a celebration of games, sports, health and wellness.

Library staff will encourage readers to explore these subjects through books, science experiments, art projects and numerous other literacy- and fitness-related activities. Parent and caregivers will also have plenty of opportunities to participate in the action and to help children have fun as they continue to learn all summer long.

Each year, public libraries across the country use the SRP to promote family literacy and demonstrate to kids and young adults that reading is fun. Georgia's program enjoyed attendance of 524,524 last year. Circulation of children's materials again topped 16 million items in 2015, and nearly 1.7 million children and young adults attended one of the more than 47,500 programs offered to them by the state's public libraries.

According to Elaine Black, director of youth services for GPLS, indicators in communities that have measured results of summer reading show those students who read during the summer months return to school with far fewer -- or no -- learning losses in reading scores.

"The research shows that when children continue to read and engage in learning during the summer, they can thwart the summer slide and return to school in the fall ready to learn without having repeat lessons from the previous grade," she said.

The artist for "On Your Mark, Get Set...READ!" is Matt Tavares, the award-winning author-illustrator of Henry Aaron's Dream, a biography of the young life of the Atlanta Braves legend, following his sandlot days through his time in the Negro Leagues to the day he played his first spring training game for the Braves. Tavares' other books include Zachary's Ball, Mudball and Oliver's Game.

Artwork for this year's teen slogan "Get in the Game...READ!" -- was developed by Demco/Upstart. Demco is the Madison, Wisconsin- based company with a 100-year history of providing promotional materials and reading incentives for librarians and educators.

Upstart is a leading supplier of library promotional materials and reading incentives. It offers a wide variety of library reading themes -- from the serious to the silly -- all designed with the singular purpose of encouraging young readers.

Illustrator Larry Jones, whose clients include Random House, Forbes, Harcourt Brace, National Geographic, Scholastic, Target and Macworld Magazine, created the artwork for 2016's adult slogan "Exercise Your Mind...READ!"

Public libraries across Georgia will support this year's SRP effort by offering reading logs, bookmarks and stickers -- and by hosting activities such as storytimes, puppet shows and other special events such as arts-and-crafts programs, magic shows and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) projects.

"Once again, this year's themes offer something for everyone," Black said. "And they tie very nicely into our long-running partnerships with the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks and Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites -- as well as to the Get Georgia Reading Campaign and our involvement with several Georgia units of the National Park Service.

"We will even help readers' understanding of various sports as they get ready to cheer on Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August!"

This is Georgia's ninth year as a member of the national Collaborative Summer Library Program, a consortium of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and multiple U.S. territories working together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children at the lowest cost possible for their public libraries.

Beginning in May, readers can visit any branch of Georgia's 63 public library systems to register for SRP, which is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to Georgia Public Library Service under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.