Summer vacation marks the beginning of a very busy season for local libraries.
On Tuesday alone, 600 people visited the library, a number of them kids ready to take on summer reading.
Luckily, a new and improved computer system should help with the increased load, that is, when the librarians master the program.
â€œItâ€™s a very big challenge for us and in some ways it has slowed us down,â€ said Lesley Levine, library director.
The change, however, is much needed. The previous system, which was used by all libraries in Gastaon and Lincoln counties, was 11 years old and Microsoft no longer wrote software for it.
â€œEleven years in computer time is a long time,â€™ said Steve Ford, a member of the Charles R. Jonas Library staff.
Although there have been a few bumps, the librarians expect things to smooth out soon.
The new computer system is just one more thing on an-already full plate.
For one thing, the Charles R. Jonas Library in Lincolnton currently has more than 180 students signed up for the Summer Reading program and the number is expected to rise to over 700.
Summer is also a big reading season for adults. Paperbacks become especially popular and accompany many a book lover on vacation.
â€œA lot of people read more fiction in the summer,â€ said Levine.
As long as people are reading, the librarians are happy, especially when those people are kids.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t have to be a tome or a novel or a classic,â€ said Levine.
In fact, kids can count the back of a cereal box as part of their summer reading.
â€œAny kind of reading that you do increases your ability to read better,â€ said Levine.
The Summer Reading program is set up with the relaxed mood of summer in mind. There are no competitions, no tests. The goal is to make it as much fun as possible and as little like school.
â€œGo fish, go swim, play ball â€“ do other things too, but donâ€™t forget that reading is part of your summer,â€ said Levine.
Another facet of Summer Reading is a series of performances for children. Each Lincoln County branch will have their own set of weekly shows.
There will be magicians, musicians and storytellers. There will also be a park day held at Betty G. Ross Park, which calls for clothes that can get wet.
The Charles R. Jonas Branch Library will hold their weekly programs in the James W. Warren Citizens Center. The West Lincoln Branch Library will keep them close to home in the library, and the Florence S. Shanklin Branch Library will send kids to Rock Springs Elementary School.
by Sarah Grano