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Scottdale library offers kids chance to get dirty

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer
Rhonda Allison, children's director at the Scottdale Public Library, is excited with this year's summer reading program theme of 'Dig Into A Good Book.'

Scottdale Public Library Children's Director Rhonda Allison is hoping the kids won't mind getting their hands a little dirty with the “Dig Into A Good Book” themed summer program.

Beginning June 12 and running through July 17, a program for children from pre-school age throyugh kindergarten will be held at 11 a.m. every Wednesday and an elementary program for students in first through fifth grades will be held at 1 p.m. every Wednesday.

New this year, retired Southmoreland High School librarian Karen Stefl will be hosting a teen-reading program for grades six and up that will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursdays.

The pre-school and elementary programs will get underway with Dinosaur Detectives by the Carnegie Science Center June 12, which was provided through the SEED program supplemented by the collection of Shop and Save receipts.

Allison said they had to have $250 worth of receipts per child. She wanted to collect enough receipts to make the program available for 50 students, which would have been around $13,000 in receipts, but was pleasantly surprised when she counted the total and found that just short of $25,500 in receipts had been collected.

She is hopeful that if the collection of receipts continues, the library will be able to have the Carnegie Science Center back for a second program.

As part of the pre-school program, Allison said they will have teachers or representatives from Y-Tots, Trinity United Methodist Preschool and the Southmoreland Primary Center so the children will have the opportunity to meet a teacher before they begin school in the fall.

Some of the visitors who will be part of the programs this year will be Martha Oliver, a local gardener whose livelihood centers around dirt and plants, Josh McCue, a Southmoreland High School student and volunteer at Carnegie Museums who will talk about rocks and geodes and a representative from Westmoreland Cleanways, who will talk about worms and composting.

Allison said she is still trying to work in a Stage Right program as well.

“The summer reading program is so important, because we're trying to bridge the gap between June and August and keep the kids reading throughout the summer,” she said.

Another way the library is trying to accomplish this is by bringing in a St. Vincent College student, who will be stationed either at the library or Loucks Park throughout the week to listen to children read.

“When people see the blue library flag outside, they will know the listener is here and they can go in to read to her,” Allison said. “A lot of children are used to being read to, but this gives children the opportunity to work on their own reading skills.”

As for the teen program, which will begin June 6 and end Aug. 1, the theme will be “Beneath the Surface.”

Allison said Stefl's programs will include a Titanic presentation, searching for fossils, using a metal detector, Egyptian mummies and the Civil War underground railroad.

Finally, Allison also wanted to remind residents that Thursdays at 3 p.m. the library will once again present the movie of the week. Choices usually have something to do with the summer reading program theme.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.