Sunday, June 6, 2010

6 June 1939: A World's Fair of Books for the Vacation Reading Club

On this day in 1939, the Athens Banner-Herald alerted the public to the different programs and areas set up at the Athens-Clarke County Public Library for their summer Vacation Reading Club.

The overall theme was "A World's Fair in Books," building on the national interest in the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Different areas of the library were set up with different areas of emphasis, such as "The Palace of Enchantment" where books of fairy tales and myths were available, and "The Home of Modern Youth" for juvenile fiction.

One could also visit "The House of Earth" for semi-fiction, the "Gallery of Famous Persons" for biographies and memoirs, and "'The Children's Playhouse' for little tots." Groups interested in "visiting" a foreign country could sign up for their own program to be provided by the librarians, and a clipping club would be sponsored once 10 people registered.

Students who registered in the Vacation Reading Club, read 10 approved books, and made written or oral reports about those books, would receive proof of their summer accomplishments to bring their teachers in the fall. Those who read 25 approved books would also receive "a gold star certificate."

It's 71 years later, and the Athens-Clarke Library is still sponsoring Summer Reading Clubs. This year, for children, we have Make a Splash: READ! with prizes ranging from 10 books or five hours to 50 books or 25 hours, as well as puppet shows, concerts, story times, sing-a-longs, and even a Pirate School on June 11th.

Teens can participate in the Making Waves @Your Library programs, where they can win a tshirt and invitation to an End of Summer Party for reading 10 books, enter the art contest and Teen Film Festival, and attend workshops covering music, movies, bellydancing, and crafts such as Duct Tape Craft on June 17th.

The Adult program, Explore Your Community @Your Library, includes online scavenger hunts, opportunities to submit your photographs of Athens for a library exhibit, programs to help you find books you'll love (June 9th) or start your own book club (July 8th), and drawings each week for a prize from area businesses, with a grand prize at the end of July. Each book you read acts as an entry form.

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