It has been more than a year since staff at Marshall Community Library and Karl Junginger Memorial Library have hosted in-person programming. The coronavirus shifted everything online and any craft activities were changed into make and take projects.

One of the most popular programs held annually at the libraries is the summer reading program, which is open to children, teens and adults. And as the number of COVID-19 cases have decreased, the number of vaccinated individuals has increased, and health departments have loosened gathering and masking requirements, in-person programs will resume.

“We are all very excited to be able to begin gathering for programs again,” said Marshall Community Library Director Callie Armstrong. “Virtual programs and meetings have allowed us to continue to meet and do business, but it’s just not the same.”

KJM Library Adult Services Librarian Paula Jacob shared similar sentiments.

“After a year of virtual events, we are looking forward to being able to reach our community through in person programming once again,” she said.

Both libraries have already been hosting weekly senior exercise groups for the last few months, but this will mark the first time the library staff will be running in-person events and programs.

This year’s summer reading program is themed “Tails and Tales” and is divided into four age groups – early literacy (preschool and younger), juvenile (ages 6-11, school-age independent readers), teens (ages 12-18) and adults. It will begin June 7 and conclude July 31.

Other than reading, the major components of the summer reading program are the events such as story times, entertainers, and special events.

KJM Library’s Assistant Director/Youth Services Librarian Amanda Brueckner said weekly story times will return June 7 and will be held each Monday through July 26 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the library’s lawn; attendees are asked to bring a blanket or sheet to sit on. In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the library community room.

Armstrong did not have a definite date for the return of in-person story times, but anticipated the weekly events would resume this summer. She said the story times would initially be held outside with multiple time offerings to keep gatherings smaller “since our youngest community members don’t yet have the option to be vaccinated.”

As various health orders have ended and the Center for Disease Control shifts recommendations, neither library will require event attendees to wear masks.

“We will, however, recommend mask usage and social distancing to help keep our youngest community members and those who cannot be vaccinated safe,” said Armstrong. “Staff will continue to wear masks at programs, gatherings, and while working with the public to ensure that all who visit the library feel safe until everyone who wants to be vaccinated has had the opportunity to do so.”

The KLM Library also encourages patrons wear face coverings at its indoor events.

Participants will continue to track their summer reading program progress on the free Beanstack website or app. Both libraries will also offer paper tracking forms for those who have limited access to the internet. Sign-up for the program is currently underway

For a complete list of upcoming summer activities, visit the libraries’ websites and Facebook pages.

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