Only two weeks before school is out, and things are beginning to change around our community! Not only are the trees and plants finally budding, we are gearing up for the summer! When our students and teachers are out of the classroom, it changes the usage of the library, alters our computer usage, and we shift into a different level of operation as the summer reading program kicks off!

Dan Wardell from Iowa Public Television will be with us today (May 15) to help us promote the summer reading program, as the schools schedule their last early dismissal for the regular school year. The program will begin at 2:30 p.m. with Dan joining us to share his stories, his jokes and his own love of reading with our youth. Although this is not officially part of the "Reading Railroad" sponsored by IPTV, Dan has worked us into his spring schedule so he can bring his creative energy into Story City, as he entertains and shares his own enthusiasm for books and libraries.

As the school year wraps up, we always try to remind our parents and our teachers to emphasize the importance of reading during the summer. There are hundreds of studies now which support the need for the brain to continue to be challenged, and even reading for the sheer fun of it contributes to the long-term health of the brain! It only takes 20 minutes a day to retain the reading level achieved from the school year, and the lack of reading makes this ability regress!

Be sure to watch for the flyers from the library that are being sent home with students over the next few weeks promoting the Summer Reading program. With the theme, "Dig Into Reading", we will be going underground with our library experiences. From animals that burrow, to vehicles that dig in the dirt, we have a wide variety of special programs to offer at our two locations. So watch our website, our Facebook pages, and our columns as we talk about the many free opportunities to enjoy the summer, with a little structure, a little learning and a lot of fun! Each Tuesday at 1 p.m. we will have a weekly program at the Bertha Bartlett Public Library here in Story City, and again at 3 p.m. at the Gilbert Branch library in Gilbert. Be sure to mark your calendars for one of the two locations each week, to share the love of reading with your children, your grandchildren and all their peers.We don’t want anyone to feel left out of the summer reading excitement! We have planned weekly events for our Tweens each week also. Every Wednesday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., there will be special activities coordinated for those entering 5th through 8th grades. Teens will meet once a week during June from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and will have their own reading formula to measure their summer reading levels and fun. And Adults can participate with a reading program specially designed for those who like challenges with a bit of a competitive edge!We often forget to highlight many of the special Adult programs we feature here at the library. During the summer, we want to emphasize that almost every Friday morning at 10 a.m. we have a Stitch and Knit group who meet in the Kinne wings, sharing their skills in knitting, crocheting, and tatting. We also have the Bartlett Book Club which meets the fourth Tuesdays at 2 p.m., and the Memory Makers Storytellers Guild which meets from 11:30 to 12:30 on the fourth Wednesdays. We are also excited that during the Scandinavian Days, we will not only hold the annual Booksale by the Bertha Bartlett Library Foundation, but we are planning to have a special performance on Saturday afternoon by the Benson Brothers, who are notorious for their poetry readings, often bringing history and humor from the Story City community into their work! Also in the plans for this summer will be a special program for Beginning Genealogy Research, in addition to a program Celebrating our Transportation system.There is a lot ahead of us this summer as we "Dig into Reading" with gusto! Be sure to join us!