Behind The Scenes At The Library: Summer Reading Continues To Sizzle!

Mesa Public Library staff member Melissa Mackey reading a story to kids in the rotunda at the library. Photo by Katy Korkos

Librarian Joy Charles and student employee Ruby Selvage in the background with several kids who have built a small city out of boxes at a library program called ‘Build It’. Photo by Katy Korkos

Los Alamos County Library Program Specialist

There are only a couple of weeks left to go in the Library’s super intense summer reading program, but we’ve saved many of the best events for last.

The stuffed animal sleepover at Mesa Public Library (MPL) in Los Alamos is today and we have Iconic and Unplugged (at MPL) and Nifty (in the White Rock Branch) coming up next week. We’ll wrap up the summer reading season for kids with Hogwarts Day on July 28, also at Mesa Public Library. That adds up to nearly 100 programs for kids this summer!

There is a method to our madness. The programs are designed to prevent “the summer slide”- which is not as much fun as it sounds.  Research shows that students on average score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer than they do on the same tests at the end of the school year.

The “summer slide” is a name used to describe the losses school-aged kids encounter in literacy when they don’t read during the summer. Public libraries across the country put on programs and contests to keep kids reading when school is not in session. Hundreds of kids take part in the program each year.

Our Los Alamos Public Library staff, both in White Rock and Los Alamos, spends a lot of time (behind the scenes) creating a schedule of programs that will appeal to each age group, each ability, and each reading passion.

“We’ve had some great programs this summer,” Library staff member Melissa Mackey said. “I can tell because the kids are really engaged, and because their parents come to me and say things like, ‘My son has been playing that game you taught him for three weeks solid,’ or “We had to come back and check out 10 more books about dinosaurs after your program.”

She added that she can see by the smiles on kids’ faces how successful a program has been. In a normal summer, one without a construction project looming, the youth services staff would take a little break from programming just before school starts.

This year, because the construction project will start Aug. 20, all the regular programs- Music and Movement, Baby Bugs, Together Time and Rising Readers- will be put on pause until after Labor Day, and resume Sept. 4. When the regular programs resume in Los Alamos, they’ll be held at Fuller Lodge. The White Rock Branch resumes hosting kids’ programs after Labor Day as well.

We’ve been at Chamberfest and Sciencefest and we’ll start going to the Farmers’ Market this week to get the word out about where all of the library services are going to be located after August 20.

Please ask questions when you see us out and about. In a nutshell, most of MPL’s kids programs are going to be at Fuller Lodge, with the big noisy programs like Music and Movement in the Pajarito Room.

The smaller, quieter programs like Baby Bugs and Rising Readers (storytimes) and a small lending library will be in the Upstairs Classroom at Fuller Lodge, which is located above the Ceramic Studio.

The calendar listings on the library’s website will have the specific locations for each event spelled out, but in addition to that, we’ve created a web page to answer all of the questions that come to us. The Library calendar can be found on the County’s website under “Community Services.”  Find out more about library services and where they’re going to be on the website:

Youth Services Librarian Angie Manfredi reads stories to stuffies during a Stuffed Animal Sleepover. Photo by Katy Korkos

A map of where the ‘zone’ will be located during the construction work at Mesa Public Library. Courtesy photo

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