FORSYTH COUNTY – A traditional assumption about libraries may be that they serve as homework resources and places to check out books that no one really uses anymore, but in Forsyth County that is anything but the truth.
Forsyth County Public Library, a four-branch system that boasts the busiest library in Georgia, does much more than offer free books, such as engage children, teens and adults throughout the summer with programs and activities.
Registration for the Summer Reading Program opened on the last day of school at the end of May, and more than 4,000 patrons have already signed up and set a summer reading goal, said Laura Bradley, program manager for the library system.
“This year’s Summer Reading Fun theme is focused on health and sports,” Bradley said, “so patrons will see programs and storytime activities that they may not usually associate with the library.”
The theme was selected by the Collaborative Summer Reading Program, a consortium of states working together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children, teens and adults at the lowest cost possible to public libraries.
“In addition to traditional summer reading programs like puppet shows, animal visits and music and magic performers, we’ll be offering programs that educate patrons of all ages about health and wellness,” Bradley said.
More than 2,300 patrons attended the Summer Reading Kick-Off Carnivals held at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center and at the Cumming and Hampton Park libraries just after Memorial Day.
The library is working with the University of Georgia Extension to present programs for adults on cooking with fresh herbs, healthy earing on a budget, preserving foods from the garden and ideas for packing healthy lunches.
Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre will present programs on safety and nutrition for kids, and a local chef will also host two workshops for teens in July on preparing healthy no-bake meals.
A change this summer will be seen in the library’s popular STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) programs have been adapted to include sporting events and sports science. Young patrons studied the physics of drag racing and then constructed their own racecars and tested them on a ramp to see what designs and materials made the fastest cars recently at the Cumming Library.
Later this month, STEAM programs at the Post Road library will explore the effects of motion and force in athletic activities and answer the question, “What did you eat?” with a study of human and animal digestive systems.
A full schedule of STEAM programs is planned for each library branch, with students in grades 3-5 invited to attend.
Patrons can register for summer reading programming online or in-person at any library branch through July 31.
Participants have until August 6 to record books toward their summer reading goal.
Children and teens who set and reach a summer reading goal will be rewarded with a free paperback book.
All registered participants who meet their reading goal will also be entered in a raffle drawing for several grand prizes. Readers up to grade 5 will be entered to win a Family Fun Pack donated by Stars & Strikes.
Readers in grades 6-12 will have the chance to win a gift card and basket from AMC Theaters.
Adult readers will be eligible to win an Apple iPad Mini.
For more information about summer reading events for children, teens and adults check the library’s online event calendar at forsythpl.org, where programs can be viewed by age group or by location.
Printed summer program guides are also available at each branch.