Most people might think of libraries as quiet buildings filled with nothing but books but this summer, nothing could have been further from the truth for the Marshall County Public Library.

"I'm not certain we had a single quiet moment over the summer," said Kristi Tucker, Director of the Marshall County Public Library. "We started our Summer Reading Program the moment school let out in May and kept going full-steam through July."

The library offers two Summer Reading Programs, one for elementary-aged students and another for teens. This year the two programs had a combined total of 610 students sign up to participate. Both programs consisted of scheduled activities and a reading challenge.

"Every year we try to find new and interesting performers and activities to engage our students and keep their minds active throughout the summer. We have everything from animal shows to interactive science programs to crafts," said Beth Kerrick, Children's Librarian at the @Benton branch of the library.

This year the library hosted 52 programs across its three branches, drawing in nearly 1500 participants. In addition to their summer programming, the library also participated in the county's Summer Feeding program, which offers free meals to any child 18 years and under throughout June and July. This year the library served over 780 meals to children in the county.

Hayley Fountain, Children's Librarian at the @Calvert City branch, says being able to provide meals to students during the summer is just another way the library has adapted to fit the needs of its community. "We definitely see a need for the Summer Feeding program, and are thankful for this opportunity to partner with the Marshall County Schools to make sure kids who need meals during the summer are receiving them."

At its core, however, the library's Summer Reading Program is still about getting kids reading over the summer.

"Summer Reading Programs exist to get kids excited about reading and learning over the summer, while combating Summer Slide," said @Hardin Children's Librarian Sara Dittman. "Both our children's and teen programs encourage kids to pick up a book and read over the summer. This year we had over 100 elementary-aged students complete their BINGO cards, and our teens turned in over 200 tickets."

Tucker said she's proud of her staff for putting together such a great program and is thankful for all the support they received from the community. "We've had so many people help make the Summer Reading Program possible. From community members lending their time and vehicles to programs, to the Dairy Queens of Benton, Calvert City, and Draffenville offering ice cream incentives for our readers, our community came together to make our summer a success."

The library also offers after-school programs for elementary students and teens throughout the school year. Those programs will resume after Labor Day this year.

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