This year the Orange Public Library’s summer reading club program has a drawing of an armadillo wearing a skirt and dancing with a book wearing cowboy boots. It’s an illustration of the Texas Reading Club Jubilee, marking 50 years of reading for children. 

The 50th anniversary of the statewide reading program coincides with the 50th anniversary of the city-operated library. The summer reading club has now reached three generations of young book lovers.

Besides reading books during the summer, children who participate in the summer reading club are able to attend free weekly programs. The first program will be Wednesday, June 11, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. with Sonny Carlin presenting trained birds in his Exotic Wings presentation.

Carlin is the first of seven Wednesday programs, all from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., through the summer. The Mad Scientist will be featured June 18 and on June 25, the children will have a tour of the Stark Museum of Art. Julian Franklin will present the program on July 9 and Science Superstars will be July 16, and the Puppet Wise program will be July 23. The end-of-the club Library Store and Carnival will be held July 30. That’s when summer reading club participants can spend their “Library Bucks” earned by reading.

Local businesses donate a variety of goods for the children to “buy” with their special bucks.

The children have fun earning and spending their Library Bucks, but the summer reading program is more than simple fun.

“The purpose of the Summer Reading Program is to encourage students to read throughout the summer in order to maintain and improve reading skills they have developed during the school year,” said Librarian Brenna Manasco.

Registration for the reading club began last week and will continue at the library during regular business hours. The program is open to area students in grades 1-6 with a library card. Library cards are free to people who live in the City of Orange. Non-residents may buy a student card, good through the end of August, for $5.

Participants in the summer reading program read at their own pace and keep a log account of their time spent reading, or the time someone reads to them. The Library Bucks are awarded based on the amount of time on the logs. The logs must be turned on or before July 23 so the bucks can be given out for the July 30 carnival and store.

During the Wednesday programs, parents or guardians of the children are required to stay in the building during the program and pick-up their children at the meeting room doorway at the end of the program.

A 30-minute “Read-to-Me” story time for pre-school children will be held in the children’s library during the Wednesday program for the older children. The preschoolers can earn Library Bucks by attending the story time.

For more information on the Orange summer reading club, contact the library at 883-1086.