Both Britt and Forest City Public Libraries have wrapped up their summer reading programs, themed, “A Universe of Stories.”

Both programs had high attendance and excellent results, according to the library directors.

Britt Public Library

The Britt Public Library had special programs, such as “Outta This World Bugs,” with the Iowa State University Bug Zoo, on Monday, June 24 and a visit to the Science Center of Iowa, on Thursday, July 18.

This summer reading program was geared toward kids just out of kindergarten through fifth grade. For the first time, the library offered a program called, "Read and Bead," in which kids collected beads for every 15 minutes of reading.

The program had its mystery trip to the Grout Museum and the planetarium in Waterloo, on Monday, July 22, where the kids who read 10 hours spent the entire day, according to library director Linda Friedow.

“We like to bring in programs like the science center and the zoo nearly every year, because a lot of kids will never get there so it’s a way to give them access to those programs without getting to Des Moines,” Friedow said. “But it’s kids who do the reading. That’s their main motivation to go. They get their reading done, and we try to make it a good trip for them.”

Among its other summer programs are Summer Story Hour for kids ages 3 to 5, "Hooked on Books" for middle schoolers, Summer Legos at the Library, which is split into two groups of kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade, and finally Lunch @ the Library, which is open to all children from infants up to 18 years old.

Friedow said all their programs have been popular, with attendance as low as 18 and as high as 49 for some of their programs, with an average of about 35 kids attending.

Lunch @ the Library is now in its fourth year, and its kickoff attendance had 49 kids.

Friedow said the program was created out of a “real need in the community” for it since the school does not offer a free summer lunch program like the Forest City schools.

“This is a summer lunch program that offers children in our community a free lunch in a safe setting,” she said.

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The lunch program is on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Forest City Public Library

After 12 special summer reading programs, the Forest City Public Library wrapped it up with pizza, a movie and a drawing on Friday, July 12.

However, because some events such as the Hanson Family Jugglers and Unicyclists could only be scheduled after the final program day on Monday, July 29 at 4 p.m. in the First Baptist Church, the special summer reading program will continue possibly into early August, according to library director Christa Cosgriff.

Programs ranged from sewing dresses for girls in Uganda with Rachel Cinader to Constellations and Space Travel with Lisa Ralls to a Forest City Police Department drug dog presentation, which was the most popular event with 33 kids and adults in attendance.

“I’ve never had this many programs before,” Cosgriff said. “Usually it’s been three throughout the five or six-week length of the program.”

Cosgriff said the library had so many programs this year because she wanted to try something new and keep kids involved, wanting to come to the library. There were 13 programs this year – 10 more than last year.

If kids want, they can keep reading throughout the rest of summer and bring in their reading log books and still get prizes.

Kids earned scratch tickets when they turned in their logs, with the tickets indicating which tub they could choose a prize from. Each age group has its own set of tubs.

Additionally, library staff continued the Story Time for little kids on Thursday mornings, which can get around 13 kids and 10 adults in the library’s small children’s area.

“Which is what we want to show as a need for the new building,” Cosgriff said. “…Because we’re very limited by the space we have now.”

Once the old Forest City Foods building has been repaired, the library will be moving into that building, which has a lot more space to expand the kids and program area, according to Cosgriff.

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