For many children, summer is a chance to read something other than textbooks. Whether it’s fantasy, science, mystery, history, adventure or biography, reading can transport a youngster into another time or place. But many families in the Copper Corridor area served by SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO), can’t afford to buy books. And long, hot summers mean kids can quickly become bored. SBCO has offered grants to enhance the children’s collection at the libraries in all the Copper Corridor towns with local libraries—from Oracle north to Globe. Two libraries have seized the opportunity and run with it.

Miami Memorial Library requested and received a grant for $9,200 to purchase books and supplies for its weekly summer reading program themed “All Together Now.” These purchases include books for each child and healthy snacks for every activity. On Tuesday mornings, the library hosts Yoga with Sammi for the teens and adults, while on Wednesday afternoon, there are activities for the elementary school age kids, followed by an activity for teens and adults. Babies to five-year-old children attend Music and Movement on Thursday mornings and Friday mornings are set aside for a more traditional story time. The library’s summer reading kick-off event was a great success, with 22 non-profits or community assistance organizations on hand to explain their purpose to 125 walk-ins. The attendees, in turn, were able to donate items to these organizations. The library posts its monthly schedule on its Facebook page for easy community access.

Hayden Public Library was awarded a $5,600 grant for its summer program. The grant funds are being used to purchase books, computer and board games, two pair of virtual reality goggles for computer games, supplies for a wide variety of craft classes, regular nutritional cooking classes and two guest science lectures. One lecture, called “Fire and Ice“ was presented by Mad Science and featured nitrogen coated “flash” paper and various experiments involving dry ice. Another lecture, presented by the Arizona Science Center, featured stomp rockets which were made from one-liter bottles that take flight due to pressurized air. The grant also funded backpacks and materials for nature explorers. Armed with a checklist, magnifying glass and binoculars, the kids participated in a nature scavenger hunt. Those who completed the checklist by a set deadline received a two-way viewer and were entered into a drawing for a microscope. In addition to making science and reading fun, the librarians in Hayden schedule story time, chess club meetings, game days, Zumba dance classes and toddler socializing sessions. They also have been leading classes in painting, knitting, scrapbooking, paper crafts and making friendship bracelets.

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