by Emily Buckley, editor-in-chief
If you ask Adam Winger, director of the North Logan City Library, if kids should read during the summer, you’ll get just the answer you’d expect from any librarian, “Absolutely.” If you ask him how to make it happen, you may be surprised by his response.
Adam’s philosophy, and the culture he has worked with his team to create at the North Logan City Library, is all about exploration and fun. “Libraries have more flexibility than schools and other educational spots,” Adam said. “We have the ability to be creative and still tie into reading and education.”
The programs they’ve created range from hosting superhero and princess parties for children to teaching senior citizens to use an iPad. You can check out a tablet reader, state park pass, paddle board or GoPro Camera at the North Logan City Library, use their Maker Space to transfer home movies from VHS to DVD, record a training course or put your scrapbook into a digital format or meet with a group to do yoga or Pilates right in the middle of the library.
“The love of reading happens over the summer, after you shut the text book for the year and chart your own reading course. Kids are going to read in November because they read what they wanted in the summer,” Adam said. “Yet, between the numerous fun things happening in Cache Valley, family trips and the joyous freedom of simply playing with friends, how do you get your kids to pick up a book in the summer? The secret is to attach reading to some reality in their personal experience.”
The North Logan City Library’s 2016 Summer Reading Program is themed Exercise Your Mind and will be launched on Wednesday, June 8 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at their over-the-top kick-off party, which is free to the public and includes free bounce houses and snow cones, raffle prizes, entertainment, food and author signings.
Throughout June and July they offer programs for families, children and teens nearly every day of the week. Some of this summer’s highlights include weekly movies and story times for families, a magic show, Jedi program, reptile show and water party for kids and human foosball, zombie parties and color water fights for teens. These programs are all free and open to the public (you don’t need to be a North Logan resident to participate in their summer reading or other programming).
“We invite people to the library for these activities and the magic happens,” Adam said. “When we host a magic show, we can’t keep our books stocked with enough magic books for weeks. Kids are turning in thousands and thousands of logged reading hours, and they are doing it. They get curious and naturally want to learn more. They are coming back and talking to us about what they are reading.”
The opportunities available at the North Logan City Library are virtually endless because Adam is open to all ideas. “We go to great lengths to embrace uncertainty and try new things,” Adam said. “I get a lot of credit for stuff happening at the library, but really we have a great group of people who have embraced the philosophy and thrive off changing the institutional culture into what our community wants and needs.”
Both Adam and his wife, Tessa, were raised in Cache Valley. Adam spent the beginning of his career as the director of special collections at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. After Tessa battled through cancer and they had two children, the Wingers returned to Cache Valley to be close to family and give their kids the same kind of small-town upbringing they enjoyed as children.
As a dad, Adam sees the benefits of making reading fun in his own kids, Mykelle and Evan. “We haven’t had to pull teeth with reading,” Adam said. “Our approach has been reading is the highlight…it is the reward. We tell our kids, ‘you get to read,’ or ‘yes, you can keep the lamp on 10 extra minutes.’ We are in a library; we are around books. And, although we may be there for another event, our kids will see something that catches their eye, pick it up and read it.”
The North Logan City Library is not alone. Local libraries across Cache Valley have tremendous summer reading programs that make kids want to go to the library, submit reading logs and enjoy fun events.
Check out your community library and keep your kids reading this summer!
There are eight operating public libraries in Cache County. Visit their web pages for operating hours and their programming schedule.