Between bike rides, time at the beach and enjoying the outdoors this summer, local youth can also get involved in educational programming at the Half Moon Bay Library.
The annual Summer Learning Challenge runs until Aug. 31. All youth with a San Mateo County Libraries card will automatically be enrolled to participate. To get started you just need to log on to summerlearners.org to print your summer log or pick one up at the library.
“We’re really focused on making sure kids have books in their homes early on in the summer to get them engaged with literacy and other fun activities,” said Carine Risley, deputy director of library services for San Mateo County Libraries.
Participants color in a block for every 20 minutes of reading or listening each day and for each time they try a new activity this summer. All reading counts whether it’s listening to an audio book, reading a graphic novel or reading a newspaper.
The Summer Learning Challenge is open to all ages, but youth ages 18 and younger in San Mateo County can read and try new activities to earn a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship, which is available for each library community.
Free books are also available to pick up from the library. With every summer challenge log you complete, you’ll get a brand-new book. This summer, books include: “Shuri: Princess” by Nic Stone, “Camp” by Kayla Miller, “Twins” by Varian Johnson, “Flu Guy” books by Tedd Arnold, and more.
San Mateo County Libraries is hoping to support families and youth this summer after a difficult year of distance learning. At the meeting on May 17, the library JPA board unanimously approved $892,000 in additional funds to support learning gains this summer.
“We understand the gravity of pandemic impacts and just how powerful and effective youth enrichment experiences are,” said Reuben Holober, Millbrae council member and chair of the Library JPA Governing Board, in a press release. “Now is the time for our libraries to take action to help support our youth, and we were thrilled to approve new summer initiatives to get kids ready for the next school year.”
These free, learning initiatives include in-person enrichment programs, like the Library Explorers camp, which is currently being held through July, classes and kits, and increased distribution of free educational materials.
“Our board was concerned about youth in the county and how the libraries can play a role in offsetting any learning losses or social or emotional setbacks that they might be facing,” Risley said. “They really encouraged us to be creative and think about how we can support the youngest that we serve.”
The Summer Learning Showcase is also underway with live virtual events for youth and families on various Fridays this summer through Aug. 6. The next event is set to take place on July 16 with Japanese Taiko drumming with Kristy Oshiro. In addition to those shows, Families Create “Take and Make” craft kits are still available for pickup every Monday until July 26, while supplies last.
“We wanted to focus on giving people options that are right for them and where they are at with the pandemic and their health and other considerations that would help inform the right choice for their family,” Risley said.
You can join the community and make the kits together with live, virtual programs. Kits range from dissecting owl pellets, exploring insects with the Beetle Lady, making a grass friend and exploring wind by making a hovercraft and pinwheel. With every virtual event attended, participants will receive an extra entry into the scholarship drawing.
“(The virtual events) give them an opportunity to celebrate their learning with the broader community, live, so that’s been really popular,” Risley said.
The library has been open for in-person Express Service, available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and some in-person programming like the youth camp is taking place now.
“It’s been so amazing,” Risley said. “We have been able to welcome our communities into our spaces several days a week now while continuing our curbside services. When we opened our doors to the public, we had such wonderful reception and reunions with the people that we’ve been missing for the last number of months.”