PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Memorial Library has held youth programs throughout the summer, catering to the creativity and learning levels of children and teenagers.
Library Director Jessica Church said state libraries have been implementing “summer quest” programming, which focuses on children staying physically active, artistic and involved in the community, in addition to reading in the summer.
The PML, located on East Mahoning Street, has been open since 1916, Church said. Over the years, they have expanded their resources and community outlets to better serve readers and learners.
“As our community’s needs have evolved, so has our library,” she said. “We can offer a safe, comfortable space free of charge.”
The “Baby & Me at the Library” class, which was just started this summer, is for babies and children up to 18 months old.
“We are working on building interest and seeing what families and caretakers are interested in learning at and about the library,” Church said.
Summer Quest programs have provided multiple outlets, including geology, music and community, for children, tweens and teens. Guests and experts also have shared knowledge and introduced new topics.
Other classes include “Wee-Read” for children 18-35 months old, “Pre-K Reads” for 3-5 year olds, “It’s Elementary” for kindergarten through 3rd graders and “Tween the Pages” for students in 4th-7th grade and “Teen Group” for 8th-12th graders.
There also are programs for adults, such as the Adult Coloring Group, and there are free computer sessions covering topics like internet security, computer basics and Microsoft Excel.
People are welcome to attend “open tech sessions,” and bring their laptops, tablets or smartphones for one-on-one help. These sessions allow the public to ask questions about their device and learn how to navigate the internet securely.
The summer programs last through Aug. 11, Church said. After a small break, they offer fall classes with altered group ages and meeting times.
There has been an increase in elementary program participation this summer, with an average of 50 or more children in attendance, Church said. Many also visit to read or check out books, do arts and crafts, play games or socialize.
“Summer programs at public libraries offer students opportunities to retain the skills they learned during the previous school year, making them even more ready for the upcoming school year,” Church said.
According to the National Summer Learning Association, learning loss during the summer can account for a portion of the achievement gap in low-income and middle-income children and students.
Some students may not have access to certain resources and materials in the summer, which a library provides, Church said.
Throughout the past year and a half, the PML has participated in the “Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces” project, which involves 15 libraries across the nation giving youth spaces to foster creativity and community involvement.
This project has allowed them to expand their resources, Church said, and offer things like arts and craft supplies, and toys and materials for infants.
“Not only do we offer active programs, we provide spaces that are flexible, and activities that keep them engaged.”
For more information, visit www.punxsutawneylibrary.org or the PML Facebook page.