Los Fresnos News

Library’s 2024 Summer Reading Program: “Adventure Begin at Your Library”

Iris Garcia
Special to LFN

The 2024 Summer Reading Program at Ethel L. Whipple Memorial Library is coming to an end, and this year was full of adventures. The library program ran for 3 weeks, Monday through Thursday from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM for children ages 5-12.

Children have come to expect summers to be a vacation from school and all about fun. But what if you could combine learning with summer fun? As this year’s Summer Reading Program theme was named, “Adventures Begin at Your Library,” it allowed kids to venture out, and think of the library as a place beyond books. Registered students who attended not only learned, read, and had fun doing so, but they also made new friends along the way.

All hands-on activities and lessons consisted of topics surrounding nature and the outdoors. In Week 1, students learned about pollination, seed dispersion, and the parts of a plant. To make these lessons fun and interactive, students created beautiful mosaics out of a variety of beans and kernels, and also planted their own cucumber seeds! Throughout the program, students were given the opportunity to water their plants and watch them grow. Most of the kids would agree that planting and caring for their cucumber plant was one of the best parts of this year’s program.

Children were divided into two sessions, according to age, to help keep the activities and reading material interesting for each age group. According to Children’s Librarian, Iris Garcia, creating the two sessions has also helped to increase the number of children they are able to register and serve. She says, “as our city grows, so has the number of inquiries we get every year about the program. Unfortunately, because of the size of the children’s area at our library, we are very limited in space and the capacity it can hold. But we are so grateful for the support and feedback we receive from the community—it’s the most rewarding!”

For Week 2 of the program, the children learned about the weather and water conservation. The library invited the City’s Public Works manager, Raul Garcia, to share a bit of information about the importance of water conservation and stormwater pollution prevention.

During the program, students were provided a warm and wholesome meal. “The meals are made possible through the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO). The program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides nutritious and well-balanced meals for all children 18 years of age and younger at no charge. The free summer meals are distributed under the direction of Los Fresnos CISD Child Nutrition Services and partner distributor Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE),” as stated on the Los Fresnos CISD website. The library is one of 7 select locations where these free summer meals are being distributed.

Lastly, in partnership with the Los Fresnos CISD’s Family Engagement, the school district’s Literacy Bus will be making a stop at the library as part of their “Rolling into Summer Reading” initiative on Wednesday, June 26th at 1 PM. Everyone is invited! There will be guest readers and free books! In addition, as it has become a bit of tradition now, the library plans to host their end-of-the-program Movie Day on Thursday, June 27th. Students from both sessions are invited to come in their pajamas, bring their blankets, enjoy some freshly-popped popcorn, and watch a film. Last year they streamed the movie, The Super Mario Brothers.
Library staff invite the community to stop by the library this summer, and see what adventures you begin at your library!