(By Mark Stalcup) [Order this photo]
"The reading program is unlimited," said Children's Librarian Phyllis Franklin. "Sometimes we have as many as 50 kids. We manage."
The library's summer reading program, "One World, Many Stories," offers kids enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grade during the next school year the chance to try tales from across the globe.
It's rewarding in more ways than one, librarians say. Not only do students learn to love literacy, they also begin gathering prizes for reading, then writing book reports.
For older kids from sixth grade through senior year of high school, "You are Here" offers the same opportunities, though their options expand to include the entire universe by the program's conclusion.
Younger children from kindergarten through second grade will have their summer reading sessions slated for 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, while older elementary school students in third through fifth grade meet from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
While the sessions are split, both sections visit the same countries via fiction during each week:
* June 7-9 -- Madagascar.
* June 14-16 -- Australia.
* June 21-23 -- Jamaica.
* June 28-30 -- Native Americans.
* July 5-7 -- Brazil.
* July 12-14 -- France.
* July 19-21 -- China.
The older children's reading program is scheduled from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
* June 8 -- You are here!
* June 15 -- Self.
* June 22 -- The Americas.
* June 29 -- Eurasia.
* July 4 -- Parade
* July 6 -- Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
* July 13 -- Our whole world.
* July 20 -- In the universe.
Enrollment begins June 1, but participants can join at any time.
All the programs conclude with "The World Bazaar," held from 3 to 5 p.m. on July 21, where students can redeem book reports completed through the summer for "cash," which can be utilized for toys, games, prizes, tickets and coupons.
To qualify to attend the event, which is expected to include inflatables, games, prizes, music and food, participants must complete at least 24 books.
The market where "cash" given for reading books can be redeemed opens June 1.
Among the gear and prizes available to kids are tickets to Holiday World and Splashin' Safari, Indiana Beach, the Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis Indians games, Evansville's Medsker Park Zoo, and area fast food restaurants, organizers said.
To qualify, participants must first read at least three books and complete a book report summary. They then earn $3 in "cash" for the World Bazaar. From there, $2 in bonus "cash" will be given for each book report that follows.
"They can choose what they enjoy reading," Franklin said.
Prizes can be obtained at the library any time during regular business hours, and younger readers can get assists from their parents on the book reports, organizers said.
However, the books must be checked out of the library, and librarians do reserve the right to reject reports on books which are deemed excessively below an age-appropriate reading level.