Free computer use, thousands of books, and a cool, friendly and safe place to spend the long days of summer are some of the many reasons why every child should use a public library during the school break.
Another great reason is that the Cayman Islands Public Library is again hosting its Summer Reading Fun programme. It caters to children five to 14 years, offering fun activities and rewards for participation. However, everyone is encouraged to attend.
While the Summer Reading Programme is scheduled to take place 20 – 31 July, it is designed to encourage children to use the library during their entire summer vacation – and beyond.
Library officials report that there are more opportunities than ever before for fun summer learning, following the recent opening of the West Bay public library, and the significantly expanded George Town Library.
‘Research shows that children who actively read during the vacation period maintain or even improve their reading levels,’ said Youth/Reference Librarian Juliet Lawson.
Libraries are now open in every district of the Cayman Islands, including Cayman Brac. Many include specially-designed kids areas, learning centres and meeting rooms. In addition to books, Cayman’s libraries offer current magazines and newspapers as well as internet access for members.
The summer programme is varied and interesting. Participating children will be engaged in activities such as traditional Caymanian arts and craft, songs, dance, games and folktales. They will also ‘compete’ in a reading challenge whereby children are rewarded based on the number of books they read. Library personnel and volunteers will assist children with selections and monitor progress.
The popular story time session will also continue, with stories being read aloud to children by library staff or volunteers.
‘This is an excellent way to enhance confidence as well as strengthen language skills, such as vocabulary and grammar,’ Ms Lawson added. ‘With the myriad of distractions, many children forget about things associated with school, unfortunately, including reading.’
While encouraging parents to visit the library and enrol the children in this year’s programme, she also encourages parents and other adults, as well as older students, to volunteer to assist in the library programme – especially over the summer.
The summer programme is supported with generous contributions from the West Bay CODAC, Higgs Johnson Truman Bodden & Co, Rotaract Club of Grand Cayman and Cayman Screen Print.
Library opening times are as follows: The George Town and West Bay libraries are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Libraries in Bodden Town, East End, North Side and Cayman Brac are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday (closed noon to 1 p.m. for lunch); they are closed on Fridays, and open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
Library cards are free for all children and youth up to 17 years old, and cost only $2 annually for adults. For further information contact your district library, or Ms Lawson at the George Town Public Library – 949 5159.