Park City Library’s summer challenge heats up
Participants encouraged never stop learning
June 20, 2017
Libraries around the country for decades have held summer reading challenges to encourage children to crack open books during their time out of school.
The Park City Library does something similar, but librarians have updated for the 21st century. The library recently kicked off its summer challenge with a couple of twists: People of all ages can participate, and they don't have to confine their efforts to reading books. The concept is simple — choose something they'd like to achieve, write it down, then get to work.
The library will be there to help along the way.
"Every summer, libraries around the nation celebrate summer reading," said Kate Mapp, adult services librarian at the Park City Library. "But we expanded our summer reading to be more of a summer challenge. It expanded from just reading to now you can choose whatever you want to challenge yourself, whether it be reading so many pages, reading so many books, learn a new technology, become an artist — whatever you want."
She added that the challenge is designed to do one thing: encourage people to learn — whatever, and however, they want.
"Lifelong learning is the most important thing that anyone can do in their lives," she said. "Once you stop learning, you stop living. If you come to the library and want to learn, we're here to help."
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The challenge will run through August 21 and will culminate with a viewing celebration of a solar eclipse that will occur that day. Residents who wish to participate in the challenge can go into the library and enter. Then, they can write down their goal on paper stars and affix them to an art installation depicting a solar eclipse created by the Kimball Art Center's Young Artist Academy.
Already, the display features the goals of dozens of participants, and Mapp hopes the ideas inspire others.
"Every morning I come and look at what stars I see, and I just love the diversity," Mapp said. "One is a personal achievement, like being nice to your brother. But there are also tangible things like learning the violin or reading 20 books over the summer."
Mapp said residents can harness the library's resources to achieve their goals. One participant, for instance, wants to make a podcast and could use the library's audio recording technology and computer software to create a finished product. Others may find different library offerings, such as its information databases and YouCreate Lab, useful.
"The library is more than books now," she said. "I think the community has really enjoyed that, especially the adults. Books and reading are still our passion and what brings us to the library, but also we want to make sure we're not deciding for our patrons what they should do and learn. We want them to decide, then we'll provide resources and databases and technology to help you."
The library will be holding classes and other events throughout the summer that may also help participants. Course topics include: computers for beginners, technology for senior citizens, coding and Adobe Creative Suite. Additionally, children participating in the challenge will receive STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) kits to experiment with at home.
The library is also set to host a discussion with a representative from the Salt Lake Astronomical Society to discuss the solar eclipse two weeks before it occurs.
Mapp said the librarians are looking forward to putting on the programs throughout the summer. It's easy, she said, to be inspired by the enthusiasm they see from members of the community.
"It's a really special time to be part of a library," she said. "It's even more special to be part of a library the community strongly supports. That allows us to think outside the box and be creative. We're not your grandmother's library. We want to be here for the community to come, create, innovate and inspire."
For more information about the summer challenge, visit the library's website, parkcitylibrary.org.
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