2016-06-02 / Community News

McArthur Library offers a ‘Clean Slate’ to young summer readers

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By Deanna Gouzie McNamara

Kids who do not engage in reading activities over the summer lose academic ground, between one to three months of learning, according to studies. This is commonly referred to as “the summer slide.” To be successful, kids and teens need ongoing opportunities to read, learn and practice skills garnered during the school year throughout summer vacation. Summer reading programs, like the one McArthur Library offers, have a significant positive effect and help kids avoid the summer slide.

In an attempt to remove barriers to participation in our summer reading program, this year McArthur Public Library is introducing a Clean Slate campaign. Many of our young patrons have fees and fines on their library cards prohibiting access to reading materials. While fines are a necessary part of protecting the library’s assets, the policy can create barriers for our youngest and neediest patrons to this critical resource during the important summer months. With this in mind, McArthur Library has decided to offer a Clean Slate to all kids, ages 18 and younger, who sign up for the summer reading program.

This summer kids and teens can come to the library to sign up for the summer reading program and we will waive all overdue fines accrued on their record. Additionally, we will waive any items billed prior to January 2016.

Our hope is that by removing this roadblock more students can access the materials needed to continue practicing and learning over the summer. Once the school doors close, many kids struggle to access educational opportunities. Just reading is not necessarily enough to keep kids’ brains from draining. Reading at an appropriate level and having guidance is essential. Students who participate in the summer reading program at McArthur receive the benefit of having trained staff that can help select reading material which matches their reading level and interest. Additionally, staff can help ignite a passion for reading by including students in activities which, while centered on reading, are socially engaging and fun.

Summer reading at the library is designed to support their learning without being oppressive. Reading is one component of the program, but we also offer opportunities to explore, create and have fun. Every week there are a wide range of programs available for children from birth to high school. McArthur Library is also pleased to host a free lunch program sponsored by the USDA, Maine Department of Education and The Biddeford School Nutrition program. Lunches are available Monday through Friday at no cost to children ages 18 and younger. The program runs from June 20 through Aug. 12.

McArthur Library cards are free to all who live, work or go to school in Biddeford, but cards are not a requirement to participate in any of our programs. Please visit us for more information on the Clean Slate campaign, to sign up for summer reading or to meet your new favorite book.

Deanna Gouzie McNamara is children’s librarian at McArthur Public Library in Biddeford.

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