With libraries closed to indoor programming and Summer Reading programs shifted online, Indiana librarians have been creating opportunities for Hoosiers to participate in Summer Reading while outside. From StoryWalks to Sidewalk Obstacle Courses, libraries are going above and beyond to engage readers wherever they can. By including outdoor programming as a part of virtual Summer Reading programs, the libraries listed below are creating opportunities for readers that take place in a safe, socially distanced manner.
When Summer Reading plans had to be adapted, the Union County Public Library took steps to ensure they could still have story time. To provide story time opportunities to Summer Reading participants, the library created “Story Time: Extreme Home Addition” where families sign up for a children’s programmer to visit and provide an in-person story time session. Programmers meet the families outside, keep their distance and wear masks when requested. These visits quickly became a favorite of both participants and programmers!
Whiting Public Library – Facebook
The Whiting Public Library is taking Summer Reading outside through StoryWalks. These walks begin downtown and end back at the library entrance. While participating in the walk, readers can look for underlined letters to reveal a secret word. Finding this word is one of the challenges for the online Summer Reading program, and participants who submit the word are entered for a chance to win prizes. A new StoryWalk is posted outside of the library every three weeks.
Zionsville residents are celebrating Summer Reading by displaying yard signs and competing in a Summer Reading Yard Sign Decorating Contest. To enter the contest, families picked up a free yard sign, placed it in their yard and took a photo or video of their family reading by the sign. Bonus points were awarded for photos that included a time travel element, as the theme of their summer reading program is “It’s About Time.”
Walton Tipton Township Public Library – Facebook
With no in-house programming this summer, the Walton Tipton Township Public Library has found creative ways to get kids involved in Summer Reading. In addition to online story time and grab n’ go crafts, librarians are drawing obstacle courses in chalk in front of the library. When families come to pick out books or utilize curbside pick-up, they can complete the obstacle course as well.
Walkerton–Lincoln Township Public Library – Facebook
Walkerton-Lincoln Township Public Library started off their Summer Reading program with a fairy tale scavenger hunt through town. Children participating in the scavenger hunt got a passport stamped at businesses in town and finished in the library parking lot with a Kona Ice. The library plans to continue outdoor events with outdoor movie nights that will go on through October.
The Plymouth Public Library has provided their Summer Reading participants with multiple ways to get outside and read. Library visitors can practice their reading outside the library on the new Sidewalk Obstacle Course, which spans one city block. Check out a video of the obstacle course here. In addition to the Obstacle Course, Summer Reading participants can also read and get exercise with a StoryWalk in Centennial Park and a Stroll Around the Block in the downtown area surrounding the library.
To learn more about Summer Reading with Indiana Humanities, read our announcement and follow along at #INSummerReads on social media.
Indiana Humanities events intern Connie Brahm wrote this blog post. Connie is a graduate student at Indiana University and will earn her Masters of Arts Administration from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs in December 2020.