In a year so affected by the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the library has had to adapt its way of presenting services, which includes the Pioneer Library System's annual Summer Learning Challenge.
But rest assured, the Summer Learning Challenge still will go strong, even if it looks a little different for readers to "Imagine Your Story" through 2020's summer theme.
And, it's getting an earlier start than usual. Summer Learning began this year on May 1 and runs through August 15, with a variety of ways to participate both virtually and from home.
This year's Summer Learning Challenge - accessible here - rewards readers for time spent reading either a physical book or through the library's downloadable collection. But as with last year's Challenge, taking part in a variety of activities also will count toward a person's summer goal.
While individual libraries will not be able to present kickoff events at their locations, each library will be represented with a special Summer Learning Challenge Kickoff Week, scheduled from May 26 through May 31. Each day, two libraries will be represented with virtual kickoff programs offered through the PLS Facebook page.
The schedule of events giving library lovers a chance to “Imagine Your Story” features:
Tuesday, May 26
10 a.m. – Hooplahoma features the talents of Chelsea Parks, who will discover the world of “The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum through a hula hoop show.
6 p.m. – Illustrator Jerry Bennett demonstrates the process of designing a book cover to tell the story of your life in a program for all ages.
Wednesday, May 27
10 a.m. – Rock out with the Sugar Free Allstars in a morning of their musical hits.
6 p.m. – Learn how to make your own Unicorn Slime for fun summer projects.
Thursday, May 28
10 a.m. – Music Maker Jennifer Voss leads a nursery rhyme-themed music and movement activity for children.
6 p.m. – “Magic Joe” Coover shows off his sleight of hand tricks and optical illusions in a presentation for all ages.
Friday, May 29
10 a.m. – Learn about the Electric Fish housed at the University of Oklahoma from Rosalie Maltby at the OU Markham Lab.
6 p.m. – Crafty Castles can be built from various household supplies. Get inspiration for ideas to make your own.
Saturday, May 30
10 a.m. – Tie Dye Fun: Create an easy rainbow window decoration to make from common household items. Get a lesson in how!
6 p.m. – Rachel White from Norman’s Space Yoga Studio demonstrates low-impact activities all ages can do.
Sunday, May 31
10 a.m. – It’s a Terrific Tea Party, complete with tea party etiquette, how to make a perfect cup or tea and what goes into baking delicious scones.
6 p.m. – Make a Magic Wand to help you in acting out your favorite fairly tale!
Participants in this year's challenge are working together to spend six million minutes reading and learning this summer. If the goal is reached, PLS will donate books to the McClain and Cleveland County Health Departments and to the Citizen Potawatomi Nation for young readers ages 5 and under.
The current circumstances bring a chance for great creativity in terms of ways to participate in the Summer Learning Challenge. One quick way is by watching the kickoff events online. More things families can do include:
Create and share a book cover of your life.
Play a board game of construct a puzzle.
Learn a family recipe.
Imagine, create, and act out a fairy tale.
Have a family dance party.
Write a letter. Send it to a friend or relative.
Build using items around your house.
Create art based on a favorite book.
Explore your neighborhood in an outdoor "scavenger hunt."
The popular array of programs traditionally offered during the summer will happen as well but in a virtual way. Plans are in progress with multiple presenters who were scheduled to appear inside libraries during June and July for performances to be given through an online platform.
Out of an abundance of caution, programs inside the library have been suspended through at least the end of August to avoid large gatherings even after state and local regulations allow for libraries to safely reopen.Last summer's challenge efforts helped PLS donated hundreds of books to multiple organizations thanks to the Pioneer Library System Foundation, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative Foundation and Cynthia Cooper.
Individuals who complete various stages of the challenge earn incentive rewards for themselves, and multiple prize drawings are scheduled for the end of summer for teen and adult participants. Learning rewards will be available at physical libraries as buildings are able to hopefully be open later in the summer.
The 2020 Summer Learning Program is sponsored by: Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation; Friends of the Library groups; Hitachi Computer Products of America (Inc.); Institute of Museum and Library Services; Oklahoma College Savings Plan; Pioneer Library System; Pioneer Library System Foundation; Sonic: America's Drive-In. Corp.; the Oklahoma Department of Libraries; and the Oklahoman Newspapers in Education.