It doesn’t seem possible, but this is already the last week of programming for the summer reading program. Those who have been bringing their children to the library each week for weekly sessions of Wee Read on Monday afternoons, K.O.O.L (school age programs) on Tuesday afternoons, Pre-school Storytime on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and the Tween programs on Wednesday mornings, will find a break in the schedule until after school starts.

This doesn’t mean a break in reading! In fact, everyone has until August 10 to finish their reading logs and bring them in. The drawings for those who have entered their names will be held at the first K.O.O.L program after school starts.

The program ran slightly differently this summer, with a bit more flexibility. We all advocate that everyone needs to read a little every day to maintain reading levels each year, but we are trying to reward those who read more than just 20 minutes a day for that extra time. We will be evaluating the way the program worked this year compared to previous years and be listening for parents comments. Ultimately, our goal is to encourage a greater love of reading and develop good habits, which makes school, skills and work all much easier throughout life.

This week there were three opportunities for adults to come to programs also. Monday we helped celebrate our transportation system in Iowa with the IDOT program by Leighton Christiansen. On Tuesday the Bartlett Book Club met to discuss the Fannie Flagg book, Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven. And on Thursday this week at 5 p.m., the Memory Maker’s Storytelling Guild will meet to share personal stories, and hear about opportunities for telling and for listening to storytellers from not only Iowa but throughout the Midwest.

This weekend (July 26 & 27) is the Iowa Storytelling Festival in Clear Lake, which is sponsored by the Clear Lake Public Library. On Friday there will be a workshop "Stories from the Hart" from 2 to 4 p.m. conducted by Connie Regan-Blake, a Nationally reknown storyteller from Ashville, North Carolina, who will help participants build personal stories, whether they are stories about families, stories about important events that need to be shared that appeal to the soul. On Saturday there will be storytellers on their outdoor stage starting at 10 a.m., with an open mike mid-day for anyone who wants to practice their skills.

Jean Casey, who is the library director in Clear Lake, has been coordinating this festival for 25 years, and they are celebrating this milestone! Jean has been a familiar face at the Story City festival also, and we enjoy a good collaboration. Many of the faces we see in Story City are also seen in Clear Lake. Good workshops are also hard to find, and we are fortunate to have a chance to earn a few continuing education credits at these workshops that are open to anyone with an interest in storytelling.

We hope to learn from Jean, as she continues the success of her festival, and we strive to be a good partner with the Story City GCC as they put together the Story! Festival celebrated in September here. We encourage everyone in Story City to listen up as the calendar of events are put together, and make plans to attend this year. It’s good for the community, it’s good for the soul, and it’s good for the brain, as all ages need to open their hearts and mind to those really great stories in our lives!