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At the Library: Summertime, and the reading is ... fun!

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It's Summer Reading time again at Yakima Valley Libraries.

Summer Reading season has rolled around yet again, and things have turned into a bit of a zoo around here — literally!

This year’s Summer Reading theme is “Tails and Tales,” so, from now through Aug. 14, we’re focusing on all things furry, scaly, shell-y and feathered as we challenge kids and teens to complete various reading challenges in order to earn various reading rewards.

For the children’s program, participants ages infant to 11 are challenged to track their daily reading in increments of 25 minutes per day, while working toward a goal of 20 days of reading.

Kids (and their grown-ups) can track their progress on a paper reading log (available to print at home by visiting www.yvl.org/summer" target="_blank">www.yvl.org/summer or for pickup at any of our community libraries).

Or, if you’re more digitally inclined, you can use the same link to register for our online reading tracker.

No matter which way reading is logged, participants in the children’s program will earn a reward for days seven and fourteen of reading, plus a readers’ reward pack when they complete the program by reading for a total of 20 days. (A tiny caveat: Reading rewards will not begin being distributed until July 14.)

Meanwhile, we’re doing things a bit differently for the Tween/Teen Program, which is designed for participants ages 12-18; this year, we rolled out a game of book bingo for the teens, and are challenging them to work toward a bingo by reading five books that match different themes/categories included on their game card.

(If this sounds familiar to some of you library loyalists, yes — we repurposed the Winter Reading Challenge for the summer months, with a teen-focused twist on the game card categories; and, no, non-school-age adults don’t get to play during the summer!).

To play, teens can pick up a game card from their community library, or visit www.yvl.org/summer to get a game card you can print from home.

Full rules are available on our Summer Reading Program page, but I definitely want to note that teen finishers earn a reward pack, plus an entry into a raffle for a $10, $20 or $40 Amazon gift card.

Now, let’s talk about summer events and activities.

While I generally begin planning Summer Reading events in December of the preceding year, the evolving pandemic-related restrictions from the last several months didn’t leave a ton of opportunity to schedule the in-person concerts, workshops and shows that many of you might be familiar with from summers past.

On the bright side, I’ve worked with a few different organizations to co-host virtual, animal-themed events and workshops for kids and families.

Woodland Park Zoo, for instance, will be presenting the first of three workshops for us on Tuesday, June 29 at 2 p.m. This session, specifically, focuses on the care and keeping of zoo animals, and is sort of a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of a zookeeper — including a virtual visit with a real-life zoo animal.

Don’t worry — I’ll wait right here while you head over to www.yvl.org/summer" target="_blank">www.yvl.org/summer to preregister for that, or any of our other virtual shows covering topics like ecosystems, dinosaurs and fossils, and more.

Meanwhile, for those of you who might be a bit Zoomed out these days, we’ve also created self-directed scavenger hunts in locations throughout the Valley, including the Granger dinosaurs, Toppenish murals, Tieton mosaics and more.

Each scavenger hunt is contained within a specific city or town, and each hunt that a family completes earns one entry into a raffle for a family pack of admission tickets to area museums, or a private popcorn-and-movie party for up eight guests at one of three community libraries.

Printable scavenger hunts, rules and restrictions are available on our Summer Reading page (www.yvl.org/summer), or you can swing by any community library to pick one up.

Until next time, happy reading, happy hunting, and happy Summer Reading season!

• Krystal Corbray is programming and marketing librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. Learn more at www.yvl.org.