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Summer at the library
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Catch the reading bug. That's the word from the Newton County Library as the summer brings with it two months of activities for children, teens and families alike.

The Summer Reading Club kicked off its summertime activities last month and it will continue to have special guests and events through July 26.

 The club hopes to encourage reading by exposing children to books they may never have experienced without the diversity of the library's shelves. In addition, the club targets students who may have a school reading list in hopes they will look for a variety of books to read for leisure.

 There is something for just about everyone as reading programs are geared toward children of all ages.

For the youngsters, the club offers Toddle Tales each Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Home School Storytime is every Thursday at 11:00 a.m. while Baby Talk is held at 10:30 a.m. and again at 11:30 a.m. each Friday.

 Each Wednesday, children will be treated to what the library dubs as Spectacular Summer Shows. At 11 a.m. and again at 2 p.m., the library ushers in special guests and performances from local area artists such as the Covington Regional Ballet, percussionist Scott Douglass, storyteller Linda Martin, magician Ken Scott and puppeteer Peter Hart.

Library assistant Anita Denny said between 700 and 800 children have signed up for the events and parents have been showing up in droves to share in the activities.

"We really want the community to know what's available," she said. "We are offering a great alternative for parents who may not be able to afford Six Flags or Whitewater. We have plenty of activities and the best thing about it is it's all free of charge".

The library won't be the only venue to take in the activities. On June 10 and July 8, the Oak Hill Fire Station on Ga. Highway 212 will hold story time sessions at 4 p.m. In addition, program assistants and staff members are looking to add additional locations for story time sessions and possible events.

"We may be doing something in Oxford and Mansfield," Denny said. "We would like to try and get out as much as we can in the community."

Carol Durusau, head of children's services for the Newton County Library System says reading during the summertime is important for children and helps them improve their vocabulary as well as maintaining reading levels during the break from school.

For the older children, the library will hold a separate reading program called Metamorphosis. The program is tailored to teens and encourages middle and high school students to partake in group discussions about subjects they've read.

"We are really just trying to build our teen community and let teens know the library is a cool place to hang out," teen event coordinator Brenda Oku said.

One of the highlights for the teen program will be the third annual Iron Chef contest. Oku said last year's contest was wildly popular and this year the contest's judges are looking forward to tasting the crazy creations.

"It was amazing last year," Oku said. "The winner of the contest made a rocky road type bagel, topped with marshmallows and chocolate. We didn't think it would be any good but when I tasted, I couldn't believe it. It was very good."

Among the other teen activities, several students will compete in an anamie contest, a sneaker morphing contest where teens can dress up canvas sneakers. Thursday night's will give teens a chance to hang out with new friends as the library plans to hold movie nights each week.

The events so far have been a success as Denny said all of the Wednesday sessions have been filled and she herself had trouble finding space in the parking lot. She says as long as parents and children have the desire, the events promise to be fulfilling for everyone involved.

"At the end of the day it's all about fun," added Oku. "We keep it light and it's a great way for teens to come together and associate with each other."