Featured Library: Omaha Public Library
Catherine Bayles | May 31, 2011
It’s that time again! Summer reading programs have begun across the country, and Omaha Public Library (OPL) is celebrating in style. More than 17,000 people participated in the library’s summer reading programs in 2010, and this year, OPL has set the goal of 25,000 registrants between May 21 and July 31. If the goal is met, OPL Executive Director Gary Wasdi promises to skydive for the first time.
Last week, OPL kicked off its summer reading programs—One World, Many Stories; You Are Here; and Novel Destinations—with multicultural parties aimed at promoting reading and cultural awareness. In order to showcase all that the world has to offer, parties took place daily over a week, one for each continent:
- North America was celebrated with entertainment from hip-hop artist Miles Busby;
- a jamboree and magician Jeff Quinn highlighted Australia;
- accordion player Tom Sladek brought a taste of Europe;
- Antarctica was celebrated by the Omaha Children’s Museum penguins program and Discovery Dome;
- Raqs Awn Belly Dance Collective highlighted Asia;
- the South America festival featured Mariachi Luna y Sol and dance troupe Xiotal; and
- African Culture Connection performed to celebrate Africa.
All events offered local entertainment, ethnic snacks, crafts, and prizes for the whole family. In addition, OPL’s official mascot, Scamper the Prairie Dog, made a special guest appearance to honor these celebrations. Throughout the week, participants could collect a souvenir pin that corresponded with the continent they “visited.” Sign-up sheets for the summer reading program also were available at each party.
Through this program, children, teens, and adults are encouraged to read throughout the summer and keep track of their efforts in order to win prizes. As a special treat, families that have all members complete the first level of reading could win a chance to compete for a family staycation. Visit OPL’s website for information on summer programs and events at the library’s twelve locations.
Catherine Bayles is an intern for the ALA Public Programs Office.