Fulton County Library in Salem, along with the Viola and Mammoth Spring libraries, are featuring the "Be Creative" summer reading program which promotes reading through the summer by children ages 5 to 12.
"The summer reading program is an eight week program. The children will sign an agreement with me that they will read so many books during that eight week time," says Fulton County librarian Betty Roork.
"If they complete their agreement, they come to a party and we will have drawings and give out prizes and each week we'll even have prizes, though on a smaller level," she said.
Each Thursday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. are the program times for the Fulton County Library. In Viola, the program times are on Tuesday and in Mammoth Spring participants are encouraged to come on Saturday.
"We have a good time and it's to encourage kids to keep reading during the summer. Parents and friends are welcome to come with them. It's never too late to get started on the program," says Terry Wineland, Viola's librarian.
The library isn't just for the kids though. All three branches feature magazines, fiction and non-fiction books (including large print editions), movies on VHS and DVD and access to computers for online research and e-mail. The library is also a great place to get information about the area.
"If somebody wants to know where a certain place is, come to the library. Nearly everyday, somebody calls or comes in wanting to know where something is. We try to guide people in the right direction. When new people move into the area, they usually visit the library and will want to find out what they can, and get a library card," said Roork.
To get a library card, you have to have a driver's license, or two forms of identification showing your address, like a light bill or a phone bill. Roork says the toughest challenge being a librarian is getting folks to return their books.
"If you remember that you borrowed that book from the library, you need to return it to the library because somebody is waiting to get that book," she said.
Book donations are welcomed at the area libraries, and you might even be able to pick up a great summer read by purchasing a discard book for sale. Paperbacks run around 25 cents each and hardcovers are usually $2 or less, with all proceeds going towards the purchase of new books.
Honoring a loved one is another way to support the libraries. A book can be donated in memory of someone who has passed away, to share their love of reading with the next generation. You can bring a favorite book in, one that a loved one cherished, or one that honors what they enjoyed to do in life.
"If perhaps the person liked quilting, bring a quilt book, or if they used to play the guitar, you might want to donate a book on playing the guitar. Some people want children's books added. One woman brought one in that was her mother's favorite book," said Roork.
The libraries are also a great resource for genealogical research, featuring copies of the Fulton County History Book, several local history books by Vester Williams, obituary and marriage records.
The Viola Library is preparing for some big changes this summer, with the expansion of their current space underway.
"We're really excited about it. The city owns the building and donates the space to the library. They are expanding the senior citizen center also. For us, it will more than double the room that we have. The roof is complete, and they'll start working on the insides next," said Wineland.
So take some time to stop by your local library branch and get into the "Creative" spirit this summer. Your local librarians are ready to help you find the perfect book for reading on a lazy summer day.