Liang the acrobat will spin plates and whirl the Chinese yo-yo. Silly Sam will offer some goofy tunes for playing, singing and dancing. A couple of magicians will wow the crowds with their sleights of hand, and the guys from Giving Tree Music will bring enough drums for everyone to join the rhythmic roar.
If this sounds like an awful lot of commotion for the quiet of your local library, take heart: It’s all about stirring up excitement for summer reading. The Pasco County Library System will kick of its annual summer reading program at 2 p.m. May 30 with a special performance at every branch.
What do illusionists, acrobats and actors have to do with books?
“Basically our theme this year is be creative,” explained Wendy Fox, a children’s librarian at the Hudson Regional branch. “All of these guys are creative in one way, shape or form — with music, with their bodies, with acting out.”
And the goal, of course, is to get kids in the door: Come for the live entertainment, stay for the books.
“We get the kids in the building first, and get them to sign up for the summer reading clubs,” said Karen Correa, the library system’s youth services coordinator. “At the end of the summer, in order to come to another celebration, they need to show that they’ve read enough books. Then that’s one of their prizes.”
The summer reading clubs for elementary and high school students require the kids to read six books — about one a week. Toddlers and preschoolers should have 20 books read to them.
Kids can log their progress online or by visiting a library branch. They also participate in weekly activities at the library.
The system is launching a new program this year for ’tweens — fourth to seventh graders — at the Hudson and Land O’Lakes branches only. Slated activities include a program by the Salvador Dali Museum, as well as making ice cream and competing in Dance Dance Revolution.
If the ’tween program gains traction, it could expand to other branches next year.
The summer reading programs are fully funded by the Friends of the Pasco County Library System, the Connerton Community Council and the St. Petersburg Times Fund, Inc. There is no fee to participate.
Calendars of summer events are available at all Pasco library branches, or online at pascolibraries.org.