While much in our lives has changed drastically during this time of pandemic and shelter-in-place orders, one particular thing remains: the importance of books and reading in our daily lives. Library Director Beatrice Saba speaks to the importance of reading, especially in a time like ours: “reading is something that will never get old. It is something in our DNA, however we look at it. Reading takes our mind away from the day-to-day to allow us to explore and experience new cultures, places and ideologies. Reading gives us a sense of hope and sometimes peace, and that is why it is so important now more than ever to continue the reading journey and allow our minds to dream.” This is why the BCS Public Library System has instituted a Summer Reading Program; while they have done this nearly every year for ages, this summer, it’s fully digital! This program takes place from June 1 to July 31, so it’s time to log on and get reading!
The theme for this year’s Summer Reading is “Imagine Your Story,” which, as Saba explains, is reflective of our current struggles: “The year 2020 has opened our eyes and minds and given us experiences unimaginable. Summer Reading 2020 is part of the COVID-19 pandemic where planning for programming was different. As a society, we all have transformed into the ‘new normal’ with technology; therefore it was a no-brainer to continue on the technological path through the summer.” You can register online for this program to read for thirty days, and when you do, you can read whatever your heart desires. There are four levels to choose from, including Early Literacy: ages 5 and under, Children: ages 6-12, Teen: ages 13-18, and Adult: ages 18 and up. As you continue your path through the month, you’ll earn an assortment of prizes (you’ll have to check them out online to figure out just what!) and be able to write book reviews.
While the Summer Reading program is certainly poised to keep readers’ minds active while Central Texas slowly recovers from coronavirus, Saba emphasizes that the BCS Libraries’ mission to “improve quality of life by promoting workforce development and early literacy through informative, entertaining programs and high-quality materials” is ongoing. You can now get a BCS library card online without making a trip to the library. Another way they are accomplishing their mission is through a video streaming service they recently launched through RBdigital. You’ll be able to check out shows from Acorn TV and IndieFlix, music videos from Stingray Quello, and educational videos from The Great Courses and Method Test Prep (ACT/SAT Test Prep). You’ll also find Spanish Language videos from Pongalo Novela Club, along with Health and Wellness videos from Learn It Live.
In the end, as Saba points out, the BCS Libraries have your back when it comes to information access and intellectual stimulation during these continuingly trying times. She stresses that “we have talented librarians that have worked to create programming that is both fun and engaging for our community. We have instituted a new online platform that is intuitive and interactive, to allow patrons to register, participate in all aspects of the program and take part in contests while earning badges and entering into prize drawings.” If you’re interested in the BCS Libraries Summer Reading Program, you can register online at. https://summerreading.bcslibrary.org/
If you plan on visiting one of the library’s physical locations, however, please keep in mind that there are social distancing rules still in effect. They are opening at 50% capacity and have the following hours: The Clara B. Mounce Public Library is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. The Larry J. Ringer Library, on the other hand, is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.