The Cedar Rapids Public Library wants children to spend their summer in the clouds.
The library’s Summer Dare Kickoff Read-a-Thon will be held virtually from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today on Facebook.
Children and adults are encouraged to read and log as many minutes as possible from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Also during that time, Quinn Pettifer of The Gazette will interview community members, including Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart, about the importance of reading and the library’s new approach to its Summer Dare programming.
This year’s summer reading program will be different from years past. The library remains closed at least through July 6, but the mission remains — to keep people reading, according to Amber McNamara, community relations manager for the Cedar Rapids library. People are encouraged to read at least 600 minutes from Saturday to Aug. 1.
To participate in the program, individuals or families register online. They will receive goody bag for children or adults that can be picked up through the library’s curbside pickup program. McNamara expects the library’s curbside holds program to increase in popularity this summer. When it opened last month, 750 library patrons used the program to check out more than 1,000 materials in the first week.
“I think we will continue to get more people as they get wind of it. We are hopeful people will take advantage of it all summerlong ...” she said.
“People have gotten amazing used to these type of process through the pandemic,” she added.
The library’s closure because of the coronavirus pandemic also means that summer programming for children will move to a virtual platform. Families can go to the library’s website to access the programs. The library will offer its make-and-take programs for children ages 5 to high school through virtual camps. Participants can pick up packets with the needed materials from the library to participate. Families lacking internet access can use a DVD to participate. That program begins June 15.
“We are really trying to do our best to reach everybody,” McNamara said.
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She said staff continue to hear during the pandemic is that patrons miss browsing library shelves to find their next read. To help, the library is starting a program where people can fill out a form that asks them their favorite type of books, favorite authors, what they don’t like. Staff then will “do personal shopping for them” in the form of a grabbag of books. Patrons can decide whether they want to check those materials out, McNamara said.
Patrons also can watch the premiere of the library’s Cedar Rapids Reads videos to help fill summer reading lists with recommendations from leaders throughout the Cedar Rapids community.
The kickoff to the Summer Reads celebration schedule today:
• 10 a.m. — Read-a-thon Kickoff with Quinn Pettifer of The Gazette interviewing Kevin Delecki, programming manager at the Cedar Rapids library
• 10:20 a.m. — Sign up for Summer Dare Video Premiere
• 10:30 a.m. — Cedar Rapids Reads
• 11 a.m. — Mother Goose on the Loose
• 11:30 a.m. — Cedar Rapids Reads
• Noon — Read-a-thon Update with Pettifer and interview with Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart
• 12:30 p.m. — Cedar Rapids Reads
• 1 p.m. — Peep Diorama Challenge: Summer Dare Style
• 1:30 p.m. — Cedar Rapids Reads
• 2 p.m. — Read-a-thon Wrap-up with Pettifer
For more information about Summer Dare, visit CRLibrary.org/summer-dare.
Other libraries in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City corridor are holding their own summer reading programs. For more information on those programs, visit their websites:
• Hiawatha Public Library, hiawathalibrary.readsquared.com
• Marion Public Library, marionpubliclibrary.org/SummerReading
• North Liberty, northlibertylibrary.org/summer-reading-program/
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• Iowa City Public Library, www.icpl.org/events/series/summer-reading-program