Candice Lee and Pat Butterworth

From left to right: Friends of the Val Verde County Library members Candice Lee and Pat Butterworth offer information for summer reading programs and events open to the community.

A local nonprofit organization is helping the library establish events throughout the summer for the community. Children are encouraged to attend and avoid the “summer slide.”

Friends of the Val Verde County Library are a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to provide support for programs not normally covered under the county’s library budget. Through their efforts to raise money through memberships, donations and grants, they host programs for the community.

The largest expense for Friends of the Library is the Summer Reading Program, which is designed to help kids and parents maintain the education curve achieved during the school year. The “summer slide” is when a child loses the reading progress achieved.

Some of the programs coming back are Bots & Books, where children can make robots out of Legos, and Free Play Fridays. Two new programs added to the lineup are Lego Lab, available for all ages, and Move Your Noodle, only for kids between the categories of infants to Kindergarten.

Last year, over 2,700 children and teens participated in the Summer Reading Program. “The fact we (the public library) are having events makes the kids want to come in,” Collection Development and Young Adult Specialist Jaqueline G. Vasquez said.

“There’s almost something going on every day, starting next week,” Vasquez said. A full list of events can be found on the City of Del Rio’s Facebook page or at the public library’s circulation desk.

Opportunities at the library are not only for children. “The Friends of the Library are hosting a summer reading BINGO and some local businesses have contributed prizes,” Interlibrary Loan and Reference Specialist Barbara Galvan said.

In addition to the rewards offered by the program, adults interested in reading become a role model for the children.

Adults can request a BINGO card at the library’s circulation desk.

Friends of the Library will be accepting donations during the Austin Reptile Exhibit on June 24, Strike, Scrape & Shake Show on July 16 and Matt Tardy Stunt Juggler on August 5.

Children’s Librarian Reba Benavides emphasized none of it would be possible without the help of Friends of the Library. “Honestly, without them we would be stuck to paper and glue,” Benavides said.

All the books donated to the organization go straight to the book sale and all profits from the book sale go back to the library programming. Majority of the profits go toward the children programs, but there are funds set aside for adult programs.

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