Library in the Parks: Bringing the Aberdeen Timberland Library to Children & Teens

aberdeen library parks
This Library in the Parks collection of books will be available to check out at Aberdeen parks without a library card. Photo courtesy: Sarah Little.

Summer time is here. School is out and kids throughout Grays Harbor are headed to the park. This year, the Aberdeen Timberland Library is bringing its summer reading program to the park just in time for the Summer Free Lunch Program.

aberdeen timberland library
Aberdeen Youth Services Librarian Jessica Friberg is looking forward to bringing the library to the parks this summer.

Timberland Regional Library has been offering themed Summer Reading Programs at each of their 27 locations for decades. The purpose is to encourage reading by children and teens in the summer months. Library staff accomplish this by hosting a wide range of fun and educational programs featuring performers, preschool storytimes, HarborCon, crafts, reading challenges with prizes, coupons donated by local and regional businesses and, of course, lots of books, all for free. This year’s themes are “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read” for kids and “Get in the Game, Read” for teens.

In 2010, the Aberdeen Timberland Library began to take the Summer Reading Program a step further. Funded by the Marian J. Weatherwax Endownment, Library in the Parks was launched in partnership with the Aberdeen School District and the Aberdeen Parks and Recreation Department as an extension to the Summer Reading Program. A library tent migrates to a different park each day of the week from Monday to Thursday. A Friday site, Cultivating Roots Community Garden on Oak Street, is being added this year.

aberdeen library parks
Aberdeen families participate in art and science projects at Pioneer Park. Photo courtesy: Sarah Little.

Library at the Parks is run by Aberdeen Youth Services Librarian Jessica Friberg. The library is also hiring two temporary staff for the duration of the program. Jessica recalls her experiences with this outreach. “We get from 30 to 50 families in the parks every summer. We love to give back to the community and bring the library to families who cannot come to the building. Our goal is to bring the library to areas in the City of Aberdeen farthest away from the Aberdeen Timberland Library, to take the library to the neighborhoods. Families who start in the park often become patrons.”

The Library in the Park outreach team will load up a van to transport the library tent to one of four parks. Families attending the free lunches walk over to the library tent and check out books, no library card needed. A special Library in the Parks collection has been purchased for this purpose including a new selection of popular fiction and nonfiction books for elementary and middle school age students, young adult, for high school students, bilingual and chapter book titles.

aberdeen library parks
This Library in the Parks collection of books will be available to check out at Aberdeen parks without a library card. Photo courtesy: Sarah Little.

In addition to traditional library services, families will be able to participate in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities. All these are components of the STEAM educational approach popular at public schools and libraries. Arts projects for teens are new this year.

For the first time this year, the library will partner with Cultivating Roots Community Garden with the goal to encourage teens and families to grow vegetables. Crops will be donated to the Aberdeen Community Food Bank. Fridays in the garden will include games, art projects, STEAM activities and free books to take home. There will be a book walk featuring a different picture book each month. The individual pages of the book will be displayed around the borders of the garden.

Summer Reading begins June 21. To become a summer reader, children and teens can pick up their free fun kit including an event calendar at the Aberdeen Timberland Library, 121 East Market Street.

aberdeen library parks
A young Library in the Parks participant is selecting a book to check out at West End Park. Photo courtesy: Sarah Little.

Library in the Parks will be open daily from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Aberdeen parks beginning Monday, June 27:

Monday: Finch Playfield, 608 Sumner Avenue
Tuesday: West End Park, 2715 Pacific Avenue
Wednesday: Pioneer Park, 214 South Tilden Street
Thursday: North End Park, 1500 Young Street
Friday in the Garden takes place at Cultivating Roots Garden, 356 Oak Street.

For more information, call the Aberdeen Timberland Library 360-533-2360 or visit TRL.org and Facebook.

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