Instead of spending money on performers to entertain children this summer, Conway Library plans to let the kids dive in themselves.
“Let’s let them use their brain in a different way,” said Tracey Elvis-Weitzel, assistant director of libraries for Horry County.
New summer activities for kids
Their Summer Quest program will give kids hands-on, interactive projects they can choose, and without realizing it, they’ll be learning.
Other summers, children have been entertained by magicians, puppeteers, even hula hoopers at the libraries, but this year will be different.
Elvis-Weitzel said that they still will be offering their fun summer reading programs in order to help prevent what Elvis-Weitzel calls the “summer slide”.
She said there will still be incentives to read, but they’ve added some new options in addition to the traditional offerings.
“They’ve changed the way the kids learn at school, and we have to up our game,” Elvis-Weitzel said.
Summer Quest is a county-wide program beginning June 17, but will be fine-tuned in each library to meet the needs of that community.
Marvel Kits containing everything from science projects to virtual reality kits, 3D cubes and buildable marble runs, will be available for the kids to dig into and get an interactive, hands-on experience.
Kim Cantley, director of the Conway Library, said these projects are much more collaborative and gives them an opportunity to help each other, like in building an elaborate marble run.
“To see them build is amazing,” Cantley said.
She said this summer for the first time, the library will be going out in the community to share the Marvel Kits with daycares and summer camps in the county.
Toddlers who love to build will enjoy Conway Library’s Build-A-Rama, which is happening on June 3, 17, and 24 at 10 a.m. Kids can experiment with Lincoln Logs and a number of other building materials.
Elementary and early middle school ages will enjoy the Lego Lab that will take place on June 3 at 4 p.m.
The Solid Waste Authority will be visiting on June 18 at 10:30 a.m. to talk about recycling with their Trash to Treasure presentation.
Ron Revere, a NASA Ambassador, will give a presentation on June 26 at 1 p.m.
With the goal of reading 20 books, the younger children will earn a prize for every five they read.
Teens and adults will be required to read three books because theirs are longer and more in-depth.
“We want the kids to finish the summer and say, ‘That was amazing,’ because instead of watching people do things, they were engaged in doing things themselves,” Elvis-Weitzel says.
Children and adults can enroll and then keep track of their progress either online on the library’s website or with paper forms.
“We don’t want the kids to think of reading as a chore,” Elvis-Weitzel says. “We want it to be fun and exciting, and when they think about a quest, we want them to think, ‘I can do that, I’ve got this.’”
Summer activities for adults
Through a partnership with the Department of Commerce and Build Carolina, the Conway Library is getting ready to offer free coding classes. An important information session on the course will take place June 3 from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Those who wish to sign up for the free classes will be allowed to use the library’s free internet to take their courses during their Coding and Coffee offerings beginning June 11 at 6 p.m.
Mentors will be available during the course to help participants.
After an assessment at the end of the courses, participants should be ready to enter the workforce with coding certification.
Cantley says the library plans to continue the courses beyond the summer for those interested.
On Fridays in June, the library in Conway will also offer 2 p.m. matinee Sci-Fi movie showings, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Lost in Space, and The Martian. Family movies will be offered at 1 p.m. on Saturdays beginning June 15, including E.T. and Space Jam.
For more information and complete calendars, visit www.facebook.com/ConwayLibrary/