Bowlby Library prepares for summer months with events

Eva K. Bowlby Public Library is getting ready for its summer learning programs, available to children of all ages. The main program, coordinated through the state, is the SummerQuest program. The library will be putting its own spin on the program, though, with a space-themed “A Universe of Stories” title.

The eight-week program, starting June 26 and running Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will focus on hands-on activities for children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Megan Ealy, who is coordinating the various summer programs, said there will be a special event to launch the SummerQuest program.

“We are doing a summer kickoff carnival on the evening of June 21 with snow cones, popcorn

machines, a bunch of special activities,” Ealy said. “We have a special musical artist coming in who will be doing a special program as well, that evening.”

While the event has been a staple for the library, this year will bring a new experience, with the library looking to bring a field trip to the program. The goal is to increase program participation.

“For eight weeks, we are going to be doing a lot of hands-on space learning, writing poems, doing a lot of literacy,” Ealy said. “We are working on a field trip for the middle of the program.”

Aside from the SummerQuest program, Bowlby will also be offering a list of other summer programs for young kids, tweens and teens.

Summer reading classes will be available to kids from birth to preschool age Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The library will also be offering a teen program every other Tuesday, which Ealy is currently planning volunteer efforts for. The library is also offering a “Play K” transition into kindergarten program for kids entering kindergarten.

“This will help our 5-year-olds getting ready to make the big jump to kindergarten transition easy,”said Ealy. “We have bus demonstrations and lesson plans based off of the kindergarten standards they will be seeing.”

The library is also working on an organized play group where children ages one to three will come in and develop socialization skills through play.

For older students, the library offers SAT prep classes and also GED classes, all of which are free.

This is Ealy’s first year coordinating summer programs after serving for a year as the literacy coordinator at Bowlby.

“I can’t say enough about the presence [in the community]. I have over 80 students enrolled in my story classes right now. I also do nine outreaches that reach over 150 kids, give or take, every week. So, that’s over 200 children that I’m reaching.”

The library puts a focus on summer, particularly due to the “summer slide,” where children can lose up to 50 % of what they learn over their time off from school.

“When they are coming back into school, if they haven’t done anything over the summer, then the teachers are still re-working what they were supposed to learn the previous year. It’s just the way it is with inactivity, you have to use it to maintain it,” Ealy said.“The more we do with them over the summer, we have seen such a great increase in children who have been successful in the schools.”

Ultimately, Ealy enjoys getting to watch kids grow in knowledge and progress through the Bowlby system of programs.

“We start with a baby lapsit, so that’s anywhere between six weeks to 18 months,” Ealy said. “So, I have some kids that will grow with me until they go to preschool. To be able to see a child grow in that capacity is an amazing thing.”