It has been a summer beyond our wildest imaginings. Summer reading traditionally has meant that libraries are overrun with families enjoying visiting performers, storytimes, crafts, and more. Normally, tables are cluttered with books that readers have looked at, the expected quiet of libraries is shattered by the sound of excited voices, music, and laughter. 2020 Imagine Your Story summer reading theme proved to be most fitting as we have had to reimagine our entire way of presenting this popular annual summer event.
For the past ten weeks, the St. Bernard Parish Library has tried to stay connected with library friends through its first-ever virtual summer reading program. Participants were still able to enjoy storytimes, crafts, and special artistic performances all summer long thanks to some very adaptive performers who believed that ‘the show must go on’ and talented IT managers who suddenly found themselves responsible for developing platforms for safely and easily posting numerous programming links, and imaginative library staff who turned corners into filming studios using paper boxes, iPads and bed sheets for green screens!
Our ten-week program will come to a close on Friday, August 7th with Page Turner Adventures leading the way. Readers will be able to “Imagine their Pirate Story” during the final days of our summer activities. It is sure to be a swashbuckling success when viewers set sail with Captain Book and the Bookaneers on Monday, July 31st. Throughout the week crafty kids will be able to help the captain find his treasure with a spyglass craft and a balloon-powered pirate ship. Teen and ‘tween crafters can learn to make their own pirate maps, embossed seashell rubbings, and nautical themed candles.
The guest author will be Melinda Long, who wrote two hilarious and extremely popular pirate picture books, ‘How I Became a Pirate’ and ‘Pirates Don’t Change Diapers’. Summer readers are going to want drop anchor and watch as Page Turner interviews this talented author.
Summer readers will get the chance to get ready for school a little early… a pirate school that is! They might need to brush up on their pirate lingo so that they can join guest performer ‘Pirate Billy Bones’, a.k.a. David Engel from David Engel’s Pirate School as he leads his crew in a family-friendly vaudeville act and pirate training session. Budding scallywags will learn to swagger, pillage, and plunder (safely and legally, of course) during this free virtual show.
‘And They All Lived Happily Ever After’ will be the idea behind the last Telling Tales at the Library story time session for the 2020 summer reading program. All summer long, readers have been joining Ms. Janet as she shared stories about fairy tales, folk tales, fables, trickster tales, nursery rhymes and more. We’ve laughed at a crazy-mixed up Rapunzel story, sat on the edge of our seats as we read about a scary boo hag, cheered as a tricky rabbit gained wisdom by going on a daring quest, and dined on fairy tale foods. Readers will want to join in the fun one last time for some end-of-summer tales and laughs.
The St. Bernard Parish Library is extremely grateful for the Decentralized Arts Grant funding and private donations that have made the scheduled special artistic programming possible, as well as, the additional online shows presented by Page Turner Adventures. All of the library’s outstanding artistic performances have been made possible because of the generosity of the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs, St. Tammany Parish Government. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works as well as a donation from Arlette and Wayne Nunez and the Shell Matching Funds Gift Program.
Library staff would also like to thank the many authors, illustrators, and publishers who have given permission for their works to be shared online. Their generosity made it possible for libraries to offer the same quality story programs online as they would have had we been able to gather together.
In-house storytimes and all available special guest videos will remain up until August 31st so that our families can catch any hows they might have missed. Programming links can be found by visiting our summer reading website at mysbpl.org/srp2020. Families are invited to post their comments so that they can be shared with grant administrators and performers. For more information, please contact the library by calling 504-279-0448, by emailing us via the Contact Us button on our website, or messaging us through Facebook.