Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., hosted a Find Your Voice Summer Reading Kick-off Party Weekend on June 10 and June 11. (Supplied photos)

Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., hosted a Find Your Voice Summer Reading Kick-off Party Weekend on June 10 and June 11. (Supplied photos)

Orland Park Library kicks off reading program with a party

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Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., hosted a Find Your Voice Summer Reading Kick-off Party Weekend on June 10 and June 11.

By Kelly White

The Orland Park Public Library is once again making a huge effort this year to get kids and adults reading over the summer through fun and rewarding summer reading programs.

The library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., hosted a Find Your Voice Summer Reading Kick-off Party Weekend on June 10 and on June 11.

“This was an opportunity for all ages to come and celebrate the start of summer! Summer is a great time to relax and get back into reading,” Natalie Finlon, Adult Services Assistant Manager at the Orland Park Public Library, said. “This event celebrated the joy of reading with fun activities for everyone.”

As Finlon said, the Summer Reading Challenge Kick-Off Weekend was a chance for everyone in the community to get together and sign up for summer reading.

“Kick-Off Weekend includes fun activities for the kids, and we have activities adults and seniors will enjoy, too,” Finlon said. “We find that when we set a date for everyone to sign up, more people commit to read over the summer.”

The ‘Find Your Voice’ theme was selected by the Illinois Library Association’s iREAD team and encourages patrons to express themselves however they see fit whether it’s through singing, art, writing, activism, or any other form of expression. Each book represents a voice just waiting to find its reader, staff said.

“Our voices include not only the sounds we make but the words we write, the art we create, the movements we perform, and the actions we take each day to impact our world,” Brandi Smits, Youth Services Manager at the Orland Park Public Library, said. “Our voices have power and we can use them to share stories, express ourselves, and spark change.”

To participate in the summer reading challenge, patrons can read books, complete activities, or use a combination of both to fill in reading challenge logs.

Each patron from birth and up can sign up online on Beanstack or get a paper log that gives them the option to either read or complete activities such as attending a summer concert or reading a book from a library staff recommendation.

Every activity completed will earn a drawing ticket for a prize basket as well as the grand prize, a karaoke machine. Those that complete the challenge will receive coupons from local businesses such as Stan’s Donuts in Orland Park and Emmerson Toys in Palos Park.

The library’s Summer Reading Kick-Off Weekend started off with a family fun day o, June 10 at the library and featured Juggler Andy Head, a video game truck, carnival games, and refreshments.

For adults, there was a bean bags tournament and musical bingo. CurliQ Cantina also came back again this year to set up a lemonade stand and Von Poof Cotton Candy Company provided cotton candy to patrons who sign up for summer reading

On July 11, the Windy City Dueling Pianos performed, which also started off the library’s Sunday Summer Concert series.

“Libraries especially take care to make sure their events are inclusive to all different ages and abilities,” Jackie Boyd, Communications Manager at the Orland Park Public Library, said. “We are very welcoming to everyone. The whole summer reading challenge is about helping people grow, enjoy themselves, and finding their voice.”

Boyd also stressed the importance of preventing the summer slide.

“When schools let out for the summer, the library seeks to supplement that time off with reading and activities that will help students combat summer slide,” Boyd said. “Summer Slide is the term librarians and educators use to describe the loss of knowledge students experience over the summer when they aren’t flexing their brain muscles at school. Adults and seniors are happy to participate too, as we could all use an excuse to read more and be rewarded for it.”

To sign up for summer, visit the library or visit https://orlandparklibrary.beanstack.org.

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Von Poof Cotton Candy Company provided cotton candy to patrons who signed up for summer reading

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