“Oceans of possibilities” await young people this summer at the library

Do you have children?

The summer break will be here before you know it.

How are you going to keep them busy during those long summer days and avoid the dreaded “I’m bored!” syndrome?

Don’t worry, the Washington County Free Library is rushing to your rescue.

And not just with books. The library offers special programs for all age groups, in all branches, throughout the summer.

“We have ‘oceans of possibility,'” joked Jeff Ridgeway, supervisor of the children’s department.

“Oceans of Possibilities” is the theme of this year’s summer reading program, and activities across the system have been designed to encourage young people to dive into summer learning.

But don’t tell them it’s learning—just let them have fun.

The Summer Reading Club (more on that in a minute) begins June 1, but Ridgeway said the official Summer Reading Program launch parties begin the week of June 6. At the Fletcher branch in downtown Hagerstown, a launch event featuring Pacific Rhythm, a family group featuring Polynesian music and dance, is scheduled for June 17. They will also perform at the Boonsboro branch.

Here’s a sampling of what else will be happening at library branches this summer (contact your local branch for information on times and events; not all activities will be featured at every branch, and some require inscription) :

  • Science at the Library: Oceanography — Elementary-aged children can learn about the oceans and marine life with teacher Kathleen Bono. Ridgeway said it’s a two-day program that will be offered at seven locations.
  • Authentic community theater — This local theater group will put on a show about a pirate named Arrchie who meets a mermaid — and becomes a fish!
  • The Baltimore Scientists — They will present a program on the waves; ocean waves, sound waves and light waves. They will even change the voice waves of some participants.
  • The National Aquarium presents: sharks! – Aquarium staff will travel to Washington County from Baltimore to tell the real story behind these creatures while dispelling myths. They also promise a hands-on session. (Don’t worry, Mom; practice with artifacts, not real live sharks…)
  • Maryland Chamber Winds Presents: The Story of the Curious Whale — An interactive children’s concert on June 18 at the Fletcher branch in downtown Hagerstown.
  • Oceans of Possibilities Puppet Show – Featuring WCFL players hand puppets. In addition to the show, take part in an interactive reading theatre, make a craft and visit the Bookmobile.
  • Tales — Two ballads, featuring Sibylle Delacroix’s “Grains of Sand” and Pam Muñoz Ryan’s “Hello Ocean,” will tour the county this summer.
  • Teen programs – Crafts including bath bombs, tie-dye shirts and bandanas and a perpetual aquarium, and activities including a game night and Bermuda Triangle-themed escape room.
  • Storytimes, music, crafts, movies and more — Each branch plans special events and activities; check with your local branch to see what is available.
  • Passport to Reading — Why limit yourself to a single branch? Visit them all and find Sneaks the Cat. Tell the librarian what sea animal Sneaks is with and get your passport stamped. Get at least five participants to win a prize at the end of the summer.
Read a book, buy a shirt - special summer reading t-shirts, featured here by Children's Department Supervisor Jeff Ridgeway, are available for $5.

And of course, there’s the Summer Reading Club. From kindergarten to teens, young readers can track their reading, win prizes, and earn activity badges for raffle tickets.

Prizes for the Early Literacy Sweepstakes include:

  • A family subscription to Discovery Station
  • Four tickets to the Baltimore National Aquarium
  • A Lego Duplo set
  • A gift card for Ready, Set, Play in Hagerstown!

Children can participate in drawings for the following prizes:

  • A family subscription to Discovery Station
  • Four tickets to the Baltimore National Aquarium
  • A Lego City set
  • A set of art
The library's summer reading club for children and adults begins June 1.

Teen raffle prizes include gift cards for:

  • Pretzel and Pizza Creations
  • Michael’s
  • Tilt Studios
  • 2nd & Charles

All winners will be announced the first week of September.

(Adults, you’re not left out – there’s also a summer book club for you, with prizes and raffles. If you have kids, read with them!)

More information about the summer book club is available at washcolibrary.beanstack.org.

You can consult more than books in the library.  Children's Department Supervisor Jeff Ridgeway presents a kit full of books and activities for families to borrow.

Oh, and if by summer’s end you get bored with the oceans, Ridgeway has you covered. The library’s Comic Con will take place on August 6.

“This is where we celebrate all things comedic,” Ridgeway said with a wink.

For more information on summer programs for children at the library, visit the website at www.washcolibrary.org/.

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