Summer reading is underway at the Winkler library.  

Mikaela Warkentin and Isaiah Armstrong, summer programmers at the Winkler branch of the South Central Regional Library (SCRL), are encouraged by the strong enrollment numbers so far for the library’s summer programming. 

According to Warkentin, last year, the library had 100 children registered on the first day, and this year, there were 250 by 8pm on the first day.

Summer Reading 2024 with the SCRL

The SCRL offers programs for readers ages 3-12 in their Bookland Explorers program. There is also a reading program for teens.  

As for what counts as reading for Bookland Explorers, there are many possibilities. Children may be read to by their parents, read themselves (picture books included), or listen to audiobooks. 

“Everything counts. It's all part of the program. We're not picky [about] what kind of reading is done as long as reading is being done and they're recording how much time they're being read to or how long they’re reading,” says Armstrong.  

Against a backdrop of vibrant, colourful decorations and plenty of fun books to choose from, readers will have the opportunity to win prizes of all sizes at the library.

Summer Reading 2024 with the SCRL

Warkentin says that as children in Bookland Explorers log reading hours, they will accumulate tickets and sand dollars to win smaller prizes over the season, and a chance at the grand prizes at the end. Local businesses have lent their support to the reading program with prizes such as gift cards.  

The lively participation in the annual summer reading program at SCRL is a sign that reading is alive and well for both budding readers and more seasoned ones.  

“My favourite part of the program is the encouragement for reading. I'm a big reader myself, so getting people reading and seeing all the enthusiasm for people wanting to check out books at the library . . . is always very encouraging to me,” says Armstrong.  

For Warkentin, the summer reading programs promote social enrichment. 

“I am also a reader, but I am very, very passionate about community development and free or reasonably priced programs for people in the community— for kids in the community — during the summer.”  

Armstrong says that in addition to the opportunity to win prizes and get rewarded for reading, the summer program is a great opportunity to capitalize on the extra free time and beautiful weather that comes with summer.  

“Whether it's reading together as a family or just reading on your own, there's always something to do.”  

For those who would like even more involvement in the library over the summer months, there are also workshops and activities throughout the season. Lego enthusiasts will be excited to see a new event at the library — a stop motion workshop.  

“We've run Lego Club during the school year, so we tried to merge Lego Club with something new to try,” says Warkentin. 

There will also be a tote bag decorating workshop at which participants embellish and take home their own personalized bag. Warkentin says that this workshop is always well received. 

Summer Reading 2024 with the SCRL

“I’m looking forward to that [event] myself.”  

The library is also planning weekly activities, and story times on Wednesdays. Warkentin says that there is a Christmas in July themed story time to look forward to in the coming weeks.  

Armstrong invites anyone interested in the reading program to visit the summer programming desk near the entrance at the Winkler Branch. 

“[W]e have calendars with all the programs in detail — you can come and drop by and grab a calendar, and all the information is there. You can ask us questions,” says Armstrong. “It's hard to miss us, so come on by.” 

There is also information on Winkler Branch’s Instagram page scrl_winkler_library, and its Facebook page (South Central Regional Library Winkler Branch). To read about activities happening at the other branches of the SCRL, click here.

For Warkentin, the interest shown early in the enrollment numbers is promising.  

“I'm very excited for what that means for this summer.” 

Listen to the full interview below. 

~With files from Connie Bailey and Robyn Wiebe~