• In the Nantahala Regional Library headquarters on the second floor of the Murphy Public Library, youth services librarian Bridget Wilson plans the summer reading program by organizing all of the books that fit the theme on a large table. This year’s “A Universe of Stories” begins the week of June 10.
    In the Nantahala Regional Library headquarters on the second floor of the Murphy Public Library, youth services librarian Bridget Wilson plans the summer reading program by organizing all of the books that fit the theme on a large table. This year’s “A Universe of Stories” begins the week of June 10.

SCOUTING AROUND: Summer stacked with reading events for kids

    Cherokee County’s public libraries are taking children to the final frontier this summer for summer reading programs. Events for “A Universe of Stories” begins the week of June 10 at both the Andrews and Murphy libraries.
    Throughout the summer, children will get to hear stories about the moon, stars, astronauts, outer space, aliens and planets. Depending on the age group, there could also be songs, crafts and games included.
    Magician Professor Whizzpop will also return for a 45-minute space-themed show, “Blast Off to Books,” on Friday, June 21. He will perform in Murphy at noon and in Andrews at 2:30 p.m.
    “We almost didn’t get him,” youth services librarian Bridget Wilson said. “He’s getting more and more
    Both libraries will host storytime for ages 0-6, plus an event for ages 7-12. Murphy will hold storytime at 10:30 a.m. Mondays, followed by the school-age event at 11 a.m. Andrews will hold storytime and the school-age event on Wednesdays at the same times.
    Wilson is most excited about the week of July 15, when both the storytime and school-age event focus on aliens. One book, Aliens Are Coming by Meghan McCarthy, is about the 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast.
    “They’re just fun,” Wilson said about aliens. “We can debate whether or they’re real or just fun.”
    Children of all ages may participate in the libraries’ coloring contest near the end of summer. Space-themed coloring sheets will be available at the circulation desks starting July 29 and must be returned by Aug. 9. Judges will choose one winner in each age category, and winners will be announced by Aug. 31.
    In addition to the space-themed fun, both libraries will have weekly reading challenges for children up to age 10, with logs available at the weekly events. There will also be a teen reading challenge, in which every reading log – five books read – they turn in will give them one entry to a drawing for a prize. Wilson hopes to see more participation from teen readers this year with the changes she made with the challenge.
    The Murphy Public Library will also host Rock Painting at 3 p.m. Friday, July 12. Paint and brushes will be supplied, but participants must bring their own rocks.
    The following week, the Andrews Public Library will host Tie-Dye at 3 p.m. Friday, July 26. Once again, supplies will be provided, but participants must bring their own item to dye, whether it’s a white T-shirt or pillowcase.
    Both libraries will host Winnie the Pooh parties with books, games and crafts. Both parties will be at 3 p.m., with Murphy’s on Friday, Aug. 9, and Andrews’ on Friday, Aug. 16.
    For details, call Wilson at 837-2025.

Summer camp at MAC
    Murphy – On most Tuesdays and Wednesdays this summer, the Murphy Art Center will host a variety of arts and crafts activities for children for its Summer Art Program. The MAC has always offered adult programs throughout the year, and this is part of the group’s expansion of art programs for children.
    Kids will get to paint, sculpt and even make their own comic book, depending on the classes they choose to take. Two classes – “Pinch Pot Portraits” and “Let’s Fish: Sculpting and Painting Fish” – span two days due to the drying time required for the projects.
    Many of the instructors are well-known or award-winning local artists, including Dianne Gardner, Mike Lalone, Tim Ford, Joyce Clair, Karen Crubaugh and Patty La Montagne.
    “I think it’s great they were willing to do this,” program organizer Pat Sherrill said. “They’re doing this for their love of the arts and their love of children.”
    Each class has different age requirements and costs $20 per child. The fee covers all expenses for the class, including supplies. There are size limits for each class, so parents are asked to sign up as soon as possible to reserve their child’s spot in the class or classes they wish to take. If there are spaces available, walk-ins may be accepted.
    At the Aug. 2 First Friday Art Walk, the MAC will host an exhibit featuring the art created in the Summer Art Program. The night will include refreshments and live music.
    Sherrill said this is going to be the first year of the program, and thinks it will grow with more time to plan next year. For details, visit the MAC on Valley River Avenue in downtown Murphy, call 980-297-2270 or email pashe309@gmail.com.

More kids get free books
    Children in western North Carolina hit an important milestone – 3,000 preschoolers have received books from the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Region A Partnership for Children works with local groups in the seven westernmost counties of the state to provide funding and sign up children for the program.
    “One of our most important goals for children is that they are prepared to read early on,” said Janice Edgerton, executive director of Region A. “The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program is such a great resource for kids that are enrolled.”
    Through the program, children under the age of five receive an age-appropriate book in the mail each month. Some books are fiction, some are non-fiction, some are board books and some are large paperback picture books. All books contain information on how to read the book to child, including tips on questions to ask while reading.
    In just Cherokee County, 618 children are enrolled and about another 133 children have graduated from the program. Cherokee County accounts for about 25 percent of participants in Region A.
    “We’ve got really great coverage in Cherokee County. However, we could serve a lot more kids,” Edgerton said. “We want every child in Cherokee County to sign up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.”
    She said many children in the region never see a book before entering school, and the free program eliminates several barriers for children and their parents.
    Parents or caregivers may sign up children on Region A’s website, or mail in a form from the Imagination Library brochure found in locations throughout Cherokee County. Edgerton said she has even personally signed up children over the phone.
    The first book arrives in 4-6 weeks. For details, contact Region A at 828-586-0661 or visit rapc.org/dpil.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.

The Cherokee Scout

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Murphy, NC 28906
Phone: 828-837-5122
Fax: 828-837-5832