Ardmore Public Library summer programs return with a wild side

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

Students in Ardmore can expect animals galore this summer through the Ardmore Public Library’s “Tails and Tales” summer. The library will not only return to some off-site locations for the first time since the pandemic but also return to regular hours that extend later into the evening. 

Ardmore Public Library

“That will be welcome getting kind of closer to normal,” said Elizabeth Gaylor, literacy and outreach librarian at Ardmore Public Library. 

Beginning June 1, the library will return to normal Monday through Thursday hours of 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. The library reopened early in the pandemic with reduced hours until 5 p.m., and those hours will continue on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Virtual summer reading begins June 7, when families can pick up weekly craft packages between 10 a.m. and noon each Monday throughout the month. Virtual story time will be uploaded to Facebook shortly after and Gaylor said families will have to join a private Facebook group hosted by the library to watch the stories.  

“It is a private group, but if you request to be added you’re automatically added. It has to be private to meet the publishers' guidelines to have the video up,” Gaylor said. 

The group can be found by searching for “Ardmore Public Library Virtual Story Hour” on Facebook. Special prizes will be made available for students that attend all four weekly story times. With the “Tails and Tales” theme, Gaylor said the stories will all be animal related. 

Programming will return to some of the library’s off-site locations including HUGS, Gloria Ainsworth Learning Center and Cities in Schools. Guests will include an instructor, performer and the return of extreme animals. 

“They usually bring very exotic animals like kangaroos, tarantulas – we don’t touch the tarantulas, they stay in the cage – scorpions,” said Gaylor. “They’ve brought an otter, a Finnik fox, kookaburra, a little chameleon, every year they bring us different animals.” 

While many of the off-site events are geared toward elementary school-age children in outside programs, planned events specifically for teens will also return this summer. Gaylor said outdoor events will be planned for June 10 and a pool party slated for June 24. 

“We didn’t do anything with the teens last year so we’re wanting to engage the teens this year,” she said. 

Students and pre-K children are also invited to take part the Ardmore Public Library’s summer Star Reader reading challenge. While readers in the past would compete for passes to a summer pool party, this year’s competition again wants to get them back in the pool. 

Gaylor said hundreds of readers will now be competing for general passes to the pool that can be redeemed throughout the summer. She hopes that will help reduce crowds at the pool while still giving incentives to readers who complete five books. 

Grand prizes for the top readers throughout the summer will also be awarded during a Facebook Live event in August. Gaylor said past prizes included bicycles and Kindle readers and that readers will be tracked using Beanstack reading challenge software. 

“I do tell people once you read your five, come immediately and get your pass because I only have so many passes. Those are limited,” she said.

Even if readers miss out on pool passes, they are encouraged to continue reading since they will still be eligible for grand prizes for books they read through July 25. 

Along with summer reading programs, Ardmore Public Library is also expanding its collection of digital media including video games. Titles for the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 now include some titles rated M for gamers over 17 years old while many others are suitable for children and teens.  

Gaylor said the collection continues to grow each month and that popularity for the growing selection is now extended to more adults.  

A library patron browses the growing selection of video games available at the Ardmore Public Library

While Spanish classes and classes for those learning English as a second language will not be held, applications for fall classes will be available in July.  

Later in the summer, librarians will be gearing efforts towards adults and families with programming that will include craft lessons and outdoor movie nights in the library parking lot, and summer will wrap up in conjunction with Ardmore Literacy Leadership to hold Literacy Day in August to prepare students for the new year.