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Build a better world with Grand Rapids Public Library's Summer Reading Party

On August 1st and 2nd, the Grand Rapids Public Library will host an hour-long party at each branch to celebrate summer readers.

/Grand Rapids Public Library

Summer Reading Celebration times and locations

Tuesday, August 1

10:30 a.m. - Main Library

10:30 a.m. - Van Belkum Branch

2:00 p.m. - West Leonard Branch

2:00 p.m. - Madison Square Branch


Wednesday, August 2

10:30 am - Seymour Branch

10:30 am - West Side Branch

3:00 pm - Ottawa Hills Branch

3:00 pm - Yankee Clipper Branch

6:30 pm - Main Library


/Grand Rapids Public Library

/Grand Rapids Public Library

With the theme of "Build a Better World," the Grand Rapids Public Library's free Summer Reading Party will provide various community building activities, crafts, and refreshments. This celebration will also give readers the chance to collect their prizes for completing the Summer Reading Challenge.

On Tuesday, August 1st, there will be parties at 10:30 a.m. at the Main Library and the Van Belkum Branch, while West Leonard Branch and Madison Square Branch will begin at 2:00 p.m. On Wednesday, August 2nd, the Seymour and West Side Branches will start their celebrations at 10:30 a.m. At 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, the Ottawa Hills and Yankee Clipper Branches will host their parties, and at 6:30 p.m., the Main Library will celebrate another summer reading party for those who cannot attend on Tuesday.

According to Jeanessa Smith, Branch Manager of the Grand Rapids Public Library - Madison Square Branch, the libraries arrange these celebrations because "families who participate in the summer reading challenge have consistently expressed their desire to celebrate meeting their reading goals," and it reminds children “that reading is rewarding.”

Because summer is a break from school, it can be difficult to remember or motivate children to continue reading, and as a result, a child’s whole reading level can be lost. However, summer reading challenges can provide “a fun and free opportunity to maintain or increase reading levels when school is out of session” Smith adds.

Although the summer reading challenge may be winding down, it does not mean that you should wind down your reading list. “When you are reading the kinds of books that resonate with you, you will find time to read on the busiest of days,” Smith explains. The key to staying committed is finding the right books so not only is it a learning experience, but also an entertaining pastime because like the famous aardvark, Arthur, once sang, "having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card."

If you or your child is having trouble finding enjoyable books, the library is “full of staff who are able to recommend books to even the pickiest of readers and we see new converts to pleasure reading every day,” Smith adds.

In order to see the benefits of reading, it is important to stay consistent and make it a part of your daily or nightly routine. According to Smith, “reading levels can be maintained and increased in fifteen minutes per day,” which means it does not have to require a great length of time and makes it easier for families and individuals to maintain committed.

As fall approaches, the Grand Rapids Public Library will provide numerous upcoming classes, programs, discussions, and events for all ages. From September to May, the Grand Rapids Public Library offers free computer and business classes for all levels. Families with children under five can also have fun with stories, music, and hands-on activities with events such as Baby and Me Storytimes and Pajama Times in English and Spanish. Older children and teens can attend engaging events as well with programs such as Workshop Wednesdays, Mindstorm Saturdays, and Teen Council.

With the Ride to Read pass, the Grand Rapids Public Library will also give students under 18 and parents with children the opportunity to ride The Rapid free from or to any Grand Rapids Public Library location. For more information about the Summer Reading Challenge and upcoming events, be sure to check out their website or stop in any of the Grand Rapids Public Library branches.

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