Stark County area libraries are doing their best to increase service by welcoming readers to summer programs.

Although COVID-19 still has an impact on programming, the libraries offer a number of ways to participate.

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Laura Klein, head of children’s services and special projects at the Massillon Public Library, said traffic has increased since the end of the school year but far less remains than before the pandemic.

She is uncertain whether the decline is limited to hours, people not ready to return to public space, or whether they have discovered online services such as e-books and movie and music streaming sites.

It’s important to get young readers back in the habit of picking up a book to “maintain their skills,” she said.

During the summer months, students can lose an average of 20% of the school year’s gains in reading.

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Kids need a break from computer screens, phones

“Kids could really find more stimulation and have a lot more interest in reading if they could come and pick a book,” Klein said.

Julia Shaheen, head of literacy at the Stark County District Library, agrees.

“Summer reading is really important for libraries and really important for families,” she said. “It helps the children to continue the learning they have done throughout the year in school and it helps them enter the next school year without delay.”

Stark Library staff were busy packing activity bags this week ahead of the start of a special summer reading program for Canton City School students.

Reading a few books can reduce summer slipping, she said.

Whether you participate in the summer reading program in Massillon, the Stark Library or elsewhere, each offers a variety of activities and events.

Stark Library encourages participants to be active and explore.

The library offers activities to earn points for different prizes, ranging from a puppet show to writing a letter or book review.

“The idea is to keep them active during the summer and to do things based on literacy and education. Not necessarily sitting at your desk and doing that, but practice and explore, which is really important,” Shaheen said.

Readers of the Massillon Program can search downtown store windows for the Summer Reading Program mascot, Freddie the Frog Prince, for a chance to win a prize. The mascot will tour the city to a new location every week.

New offers at North Canton, Rodman libraries

In addition to the traditional summer reading program, Alliance’s Rodman Public Library offers a virtual summer art experience for children ages 6 to 13.

The library provides art supplies and six tutorials on YouTube. Self-paced art projects will be displayed virtually in July.

The Northern Township Public Library not only strengthens the love of reading, but also giving.

When the pandemic forced the community to fight job loss and an economic downturn, readers rallied to help local organizations.

The library challenged readers to record 500,000 minutes of reading in June and July. If they reached the goal, the Friends of the North Canton Public Library would donate $ 1,000 each to the North Canton Food Pantry and the Stark County Pet Food Pantry.

Attendees smashed the goal, logging in in over 700,000 minutes and getting other businesses to join the effort. The library was able to provide $ 1,750 each to the two organizations.

Principal Andrea Legg said the library was ready to start over.

Participants will be invited to read 650,000 minutes by July 31. If they do, the Friends of the Library, North Canton Rotary and DayStar Autosphere will again donate $ 1,750 to both organizations.

Local libraries are preparing to welcome readers of all ages to participate in summer reading programs.

Summer school

Stark Library is partnering with schools in Canton City to target the district’s youngest readers. This program is separate from its summer reading challenge.

With a grant from the Sisters of Charity, the library will take the program on the road to several sites, including day camps and daycares and six locations across town each week, including Mahoning Manor, Ellisdale Homes, Skyline Terrace. , Jackson Sherrick, Linwood Acres and Schreiber School.

Every week until August 7, Canton City School children entering Kindergarten to Grade 3 can receive books and activities designed to develop their reading, math and science skills.

They will also receive a take-out meal and a chance to win prizes.

“These children are among the children most affected by the pandemic,” Shaheen said. “Until the third grade they learn to read. After the third grade they read to learn. By the time they reach third grade and have not mastered basic reading and early literacy skills like sounds letters, that’s a problem. “

Stark Library Main Campus staff Cindy Boley collects materials for the Library's Summer Fun School for Canton City School students.  The reading program hits the road on June 7 and will visit several sites in the city each week until August 7.

Get reading

Eric Taggart, director of the Rodman Public Library, believes every child wants to read, no matter how reluctant he is.

He offers some tips to help parents and children put their skills together.

His first question to parents – do you read?

Whether it’s a book, newspaper, or magazine, a child who sees a parent reading will model the behavior.

“It will be a normal thing to do,” he said. “If they see you doing it, they’ll think it must be fun to do or you won’t.”

He also suggests using library workers to help children find the right choices.

“We can help guide you and ask your child the right question,” he said. “We can help find books that they will enjoy reading.

“We want to foster the love of reading. Librarians in children’s departments are passionate about it. We want to develop it in every child.”

Taggart said it was a good idea to allow the child to visit the library and choose what he wanted to read.

Stark Library staff member Kelli Cozzoli packs activity bags on the main campus for a summer reading program.

Parents can guide them to make sure the materials are of the correct level, but Taggart said it wasn’t a bad idea to let them try something difficult.

“It doesn’t take a lot of reading to improve your skills,” he said. “If parents read with or encourage children to read for about 20 minutes a day, it could make a huge difference. “

Contact Amy at 330-775-1135 or [email protected]

On Twitter: @aknappINDE

Get reading

Stark County Libraries offer summer reading programs for all ages. To learn more about each library’s program, visit the following sites.

Fulton Canal Public Library –

Louisville Public Library –

Massillon Public Library –

Public Library of the Canton of North –

Rodman Public Library –;

Stark Library –

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