By Kristen Burnham
This was it. Summer 2020 was to be my very first summer overseeing Prince William Public Library’s annual Summer Reading Program, a national literacy program that, as any public librarian will tell you, is THE event of the year. I was excited, nervous, and every other emotion in between as we drew closer to June, mentally counting down the minutes until the program was launched. Everything was set: The programs had been scheduled, paperwork finalized, prizes purchased… and then the country shut down.
Almost immediately, I was faced with a slew of questions, all of them adding up to: What about Summer Reading? How could we move forward when libraries are closed, and we have no idea when we will reopen? Suddenly all the plans that had been carefully made were now seemingly impossible to carry through, and we were facing a whole new reality for the summer, with new challenges and a whole different set of rules. But work them out we did, and I am very happy to be able to tell you that, thanks to a lot of brainstorming and amazing teamwork, we are having a virtual Summer Reading program this year. Not only that, we are having a busy virtual Summer Reading program.
Imagine Your Story
This year’s Summer Reading theme is “Imagine Your Story,” and in light of the current circumstances, I couldn’t think of a better theme. As always, the program runs for nine weeks, this year from June 15 through August 15. Participants, ages 0 to 99, can sign up through the library website pwcgov.org/library, or by downloading the Beanstack Tracker mobile app. Once signed up, participants:
- Will have access to a virtual game card of activities that can be completed at home.
- Upon completing 10 activities, kids and teens win a free book, which they can pick up when the libraries reopen to the public, plus an entry into the grand prize drawing.
- Complete all 25 activities and receive a bonus entry into the grand prize drawing, which doubles a participant’s chance to win a littleBits set for kids ages 0 through grade 5 or a Target gift card for teens in grades 6 – 12.
But wait, there’s more!
Even though our libraries are closed, we are still hosting amazing programs this summer. Mike Rose Magic, Puppetopia, Bar C Ranch, Fools Improv Comedy Troupe—these are just a few of the programs that the entire family can enjoy, all at home! Whether you want to challenge yourself with a special virtual painting class, take a Zumba or dance class, or be introduced to a llama while sitting on your couch, we have something for everyone.
Check out the Virtual Programs section on our website, which has all our current virtual program information as well as those programs coming up this summer.
PWPLS is committed to providing our community with the best customer service possible, and I see it every day in all the hard work our staff is doing to ensure that this summer has quality programs and services for you. And, just as I was just a few short months ago, I’m counting down the minutes until we can share it with you!