Athenaeum’s summer reading program underway

WESTFIELD-For avid readers of all ages, the Westfield Athenaeum’s summer reading program – Tails and Tales – promises a wealth of ways to explore new adventures.

“Our all ages summer reading program began June 21,” said Becky Blackburn, public services librarian. “We have a host of events scheduled on our event calendar, both in-person and virtual, and we can’t wait to see you.”

Blackburn added that as a special sign-up bonus, patrons of all ages who come into the Athenaeum in the first week – while supplies last – for the summer reading program will receive a goody bag.

Ella Raymaakers, Joelle Stanwood, and Jaxon Stanwood, are registered for the Westfield Athenaeum’s summer reading program and received their goody bags on June 23. (LORI SZEPELAK PHOTO)

“Children, teens, and adults each have their own special bags, so there’s fun for the whole family,” said Blackburn.

In the Children’s Library during the first week, Ella Raymaakers, 7, Joelle Stanwood, 6, and Jaxon Stanwood, 8, were among the first children to sign up for the summer reading program and all received a goody bag.

“I like to read stories about animals,” said Ella.

“I like to read about fairies,” said Joelle.

For Joelle’s brother, Jaxon, he has a wide variety of subjects he enjoys reading.

“I like reading a lot of books,” said Jaxon, adding some of his favorite subjects include outer space, aliens, rescue puppies, and chapter books.

Olivia Eberli, head of youth services and young adult librarian, noted that patrons signing up for this summer’s reading program are trending ahead of last year’s readers.

“We have 51 adults already signed up for the summer reading program, as well as 44 teens and 81 children,” said Eberli.

From a short story contest and outdoor story times to craft projects and a Dinosaurs Rock! virtual program, librarians will keep young people engaged all summer with a host of wide-ranging programming.

Becky Blackburn, public services librarian at the Westfield Athenaeum, shows off the goody bags for children, teens and adults who sign up for the summer reading program. (LORI SZEPELAK PHOTO)

The Children’s Library is also planning a “Paint the Sidewalk” event for families on June 29 at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“Families will be given a square in front of the library to paint with chalk paint,” said Blackburn.

Teen programming is also diverse and includes game nights, paint parties, and art projects that will inspire and challenge young people this summer.

Programming for adults is also varied this summer, including a short story contest, adult writing workshops, trivia, home crafts, a history chat on “The Lost Mansions of Westfield,” and a nature photography contest. Additionally, a Cat People Party is slated online on July 8, and a Dog People Party is planned July 22 online at 6:30 p.m.

“We also have a paint your pet project planned,” said Blackburn. “People will email me a photo of their pet and I will posterize it and print it on watercolor paper for them to paint.”

For details on all of these events and many more, visit westath.org, and sign up for the summer reading program at westath.beanstack.org, or come into the Athenaeum to register. For patrons interested in signing up for summer events, visit westath.libcal.com.

The summer reading program ends on Aug. 13 and a celebration is planned at the end of August to announce winners of contests and distribute raffle prizes.

“We have some really cool prizes to win for those participating in the summer reading program that can be found on our website,” said Blackburn.

The 2021 summer reading program is made possible by the generosity of the Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum and the Westfield Cultural Council.

Athenaeum hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and on Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. All three entrances are open and the Library-To-Go pickup service moves inside to the Adult Circulation Desk which includes items for children.

The Westfield Athenaeum is now fully open and librarians are signing up patrons for the summer reading program. (LORI SZEPELAK PHOTO)

“Instead of splitting up families’ orders, they will all be together in one place,” said Blackburn. “In order to follow the guidance suggested for educational institutions serving children, we will still be requiring masks inside at this time.”

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