With the newest technology in tablets and readers, and access to the Library of Congress on the Internet, one might think the public library has become a resource of the past.
But tell that to 8-year old Sylvia Brown, who learned recently about the lifecycle of a meal worm at the local library this summer. Sylvia took part in Dig Into Reading, this year's themed summer program, which schedules events, centered on encouraging reading while offering science-based, hands-on learning experiences, throughout the summer months.
Justin King, the Youth Services Librarian, said the library system has been offering summer programs for years. Using a national theme, local libraries coordinate and plan events throughout the summer months that are geared toward school-aged children, 5 to 12. Yet he has seen several older children also taking part in the events, which are free and open to anyone.
On Wednesday, the Spring Hill branch hosted a Pirates Ahoy, led by King, which attracted a whopping 170 children. The meeting room of the library was packed as King read themed books to an eager audience of pirate buffs.
"It was incredible," he said. The turnout was beyond expectations. Although King pointed out that most events have attracted a strong audience since they began in June.
They are scheduled each Tuesday through Friday, beginning at 10:15 a.m., at a different library branch and are free to participants. The program is funded by the Friends of the Library organization that fundraises throughout the year.
The program also depends on the collaboration with organizations, like Hernando County Extension Services, the Hernando County Utilities Department, Chinsegut Conservation Center, and Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park.
Dig Into Reading for July will include some repeats from June, like Butterfly Gardening, Deep Sea Digging and Meal Worm Mania. They also have Dino Mite, Plant a Seed, Worms at Work, and Burrowing Animals on the schedule. There is no need to preregister for the daily events. All are welcome.
In addition to the programs offered the younger school children, the Hernando County Public Library also has planned events for tweens and teens, entitled Beneath the Surface, throughout the summer at different locations. June scheduled Apps Alive, a Beach Party and Anime Afternoon for ages 8-12 and 13 to 18. Pizza is provided for all events.
Upcoming for July's Beneath the Surface include Super Hero Academy, The Hobbit, Owl Pellets, Steam Punk and Oz Program. These events may have seating limits and pre-registration is encouraged either by stopping in to a library branch or by calling or going online.
One event in high anticipation is the Owl Pellets, scheduled for July 15 at the main library branch in Brooksville. Participants will meet an owl from Homosassa Springs and will then dissect an owl pellet.
The summer program runs through August 3.
For more information and a updated schedule of the events offered through the Hernando County Public Library for this summer, visit their website at www.hernandocountylibrary.us. Or visit one of the four Hernando County Branches: located at Main Library/Brooksville, 238 Howell Ave., Brooksville; West Hernando Branch, 6335 Blackbird Ave., Brooksville; Spring Hill Branch, 9220 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill; and East Hernando Branch, 6457 Windmere Road, Brooksville.