31 August 2020
Bailey Hager, finishing a Virtual Story Time and Craft activity.

Colona District Public Library’s Youth Services assistant, Bailey Hager, had a very busy spring and summer. Bailey began a Virtual Story Time in March which will continue indefinitely. She purposefully chose books to match crafts she was demonstrating using items easily found in a home. She used different voices to act out the parts of various characters in the books. Bailey majored in theater and art in college so I think this was more fun than work!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bailey Hager developed her own summer reading program for Colona Public Library, Summer of Exploration: Read, Create, Discover! Colona Public Library’s Summer Reading Program was four weeks long. Bailey’s goal was to develop activities and themes that would encourage learning and families working together during July. The participants needed to complete 8 of 17 activities with three activities requiring reading on three separate days each week. The activities included art projects, STEM projects, solving a weekly puzzle, virtual escape rooms, playing outside, reading a non-fiction book on the weekly theme, watching a virtual program on the library's Facebook page or website, jumping rope, building a famous landmark using marshmallows and toothpicks, building an obstacle course, cooking a new recipe from a library book, taking a “Story Park Hike” or decorating a bicycle, scooter or skates and showing it to a librarian.

To help share the activities, we based the program around themes. Buttons were awarded weekly for tasks completed. Our themes were:

  • Week 1: read and learn about an artist, ancient world leader, another culture, another country or mythology.
  • Week 2: read and learn about an environmentalist, biologist, zoologist or an animal.
  • Week 3: read and learn about a planet other than earth, the Artemis missions, the night sky, astrophysicists, astronauts or astronomers.
  • Week 4: read and learn about Olympic gold medalists or a sport you didn't know about.

Adults, parents and children were thrilled with the Summer Program and have asked for a similar format next summer. Families enjoyed the opportunity do things together especially in a difficult time where a lot of us feel isolated. The support from the performer was outstanding as they made sure our library had virtual programs to share with our patrons. I feel as though Colona has made a big breakthrough in conveying our flexibility and adaptability to our community. 

Our guest blogger today is Sarah Alexander. Sarah is the Library Director at  Colona Public Library District.