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Story Last modified at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer reading not just for kids

The Anchorage Public Library staff has really outdone itself with this year's Summer Reading Celebration, which runs through the end of July. Not only are there numerous incentives for children 12 and younger to keep reading all summer, but teens and adults also have their own reading programs with weekly and grand prizes.

The national summer reading theme for children is "One World, Many Stories," so continuing in that vein, staff named the teens' program "You Are Here" and the adults' "Novel Destination." When they sign up, kids get a map to keep track of reading minutes and earn prizes. Teens who sign up at the library or online get prizes after reading 750 minutes and 1,500 minutes, plus chances to win the grand prize, a Nook eReader. Adults can register online at and submit weekly book reviews to maximize their chances to win prizes. Participants in all three programs are encouraged to keep track of their reading minutes, which will translate into cash to donate to Heifer International, this year's Readers to the Rescue charity, at the end of the summer.

I guess here is as good a place as any to put in a plug for Friends of the Library. Without the support of Friends, there would be no prizes, no Readers to the Rescue charity donation and none of the professional performances scheduled for school-age children this summer. As they have for years, Friends of the Library is footing the bill for APL's Summer Reading Celebration. Thank you Friends' members.

And speaking of the school-age events, block off 1 p.m. every Thursday on your kids' schedule during June and July. That's when the Chugiak-Eagle River Neighborhood Library has booked its array of summer reading programs. FYI – On Thursdays teens and kids also ride free on People Mover buses all summer long.

In brief, the programs are:

June 2: "A Journey through Science" with Mad Scientist Jupiter Jeff.

June 9: The Readers to the Rescue Kickoff – a fun, international-flavored event.

June 16: Bruce Hale, best-selling author of over 25 books for youth, shares "The Story Behind the Storyteller."

June 23: Storytellers Liz Mangual and Bob Kanegis in a "Bring the Stories Back Alive" safari.

June 30: Magician Don Russell shares "Tales of a Traveling Magician."

July 7: The Imaginarium shows off members of four of the major reptile families in Rocking Reptiles.

July 14: The Roustabout Circus Show with acrobats, jugglers and clowns.

July 21: Alaska Zoo Animal Ambassador Program visits with a red fox.

Regular programs for toddlers and preschoolers continue though the summer with a special event 11 a.m. July 29. Music group Fiddle De Dee will play, giving the very young an opportunity to sing, dance and play along.

Go to the library Web site for more information about the events and Heifer International, and to sign up. Staff has created a great two-page calendar to keep track of this summer's events.

Toni Massari McPherson is the community relations coordinator for Anchorage Public Library.

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, May 25, 2011.