Last updated: August 03. 2014 8:19AM -
By - cwarner@civitasmedia.com

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UNION — Another sign that summer is drawing to a close was the wrapping up of the children’s portion of the Union County Carnegie Library’s Summer Reading Program Thursday afternoon.

The program, which got under way at the beginning of June, included activities for children, teens, and adults.

The adult portion of the program, the Adult Summer Reading Contest, required participants to read any book of their choice between June 2 and July 23, fill out a form about the book, and return it to the library. The contest, which included weekly prize drawings, wrapped up Wednesday evening with the drawing for the Grand Prize, a Nook, which was won by Linda Tucker.

During Wednesday’s event, Library Director Ben Loftis announced that 37 people had participated in contest, reading a total of 361 books. Tucker was the top reader with 75 books. Other top readers were Linda Sullivan with 47 books, Cathy Wood with 27, and Pam Vaughan with 17.

At the same time the adults were competing in the reading contest, the children and teens participating in the Summer Reading Program were taking part in a number of activities that were not only fun but educational as well. Those portions of the program wrapped up Thursday afternoon, but not before the children and teens participating enjoyed nearly two months of science, technology, engineering, and math related activities and presentations.

The activities of the Summer Reading Program were built around STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM is an educational initiative designed to provide students with a solid background in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Its goal is to help students develop the critical thinking skills that will enable them to successfully compete in the increasingly knowledge-based global economy of the 21st century.

The children’s portion of the program was called “Fizz, Boom, Read” while the teen portion was called “Spark A Reaction,” both of which involved a combination of special themed events and visits from special guests who did science-related presentations.

Activities included:

• Blobs in a Bottle which invovled making Lava Lamps

• Building robots

• Building marshmallow catapults

• Making soap

• A science experiment that involved making “Elephant Toothpaste.”

• Science experiments that involved making volcanoes and foam dough.

The special guests who took part in the program included “The Science Tellers” who used science experiments to tell stories; a representative from EdVenture in Columbia whose presentation on “the forces of the world in motion” included miniature catapults, scooters, and even tug-of-war; and Ronald McDonald who presented “The Wacky World of Science with Ronald McDonald” which presented science with a humorous, but still educational spin.

Also part of the program were two “Lego Parties” held July 21 and July 22 for children ages 2-5 and 6-12, respectively. At each party the children attending were able to engage in building activities that while fun, also helped them learn about construction and design.

The children and teen portions of the Summer Reading Program wrapped up Thursday afternoon with a Summer Reading Finale at the library.

Like the program itself, the finale featured a number of fun and educational activities including a coloring table and a marshmallow catapult.

Thursday’s finale also featured a drawing for two Grand Prizes, one for the 6-12 age group and the other for the 2-5 age group.

Dawson Hyatt was the winner in the 6-12 age group. He received a Kindle.

Tristan Bedore was the winner in the 2-5 age group. He received an InnoTab 3.

While Dawson and Tristan were the Grand Prize winners in their age groups, none of the children attending the finale went home empty-handed.

The drawings were made by the library’s Teens and Children’s Services Specialist Cindy Shick who said that each child who attended the finale received a book, a prize, and a snack bag full of goodies to take home with them.

For more information about the Union County Carnegie Library and the programs and services it offers call 864-427-7140.

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