Summer reading is an American tradition in many quarters. Public libraries often sponsor summer-reading programs for children to help keep their minds active while away from school and to prevent “summer-reading loss.”
But it’s not just for children. The New Yorker publishes (this week) a special summer issue filled with fiction and Esquire magazine produces an annual list of summertime reading.
Not to be outdone, the Forsyth County Public Library is also boosting its summer reading program for children, but with an additional emphasis on programs and reading for teens and adults. Its program — “A Universe of Stories!” — kicks off today with an all-age party at the Central Library and continues through July 27.
“Children are, and always will be, an important part of summer reading, but because this is the 50th anniversary of the moon walk, we’re casting the net wider with more programs for teens and adults around space themes,” the library’s public information officer, Mary Giunca, told the Journal in an email.
It sounds like an exceptional program.
Summer reading tends to create visions of racy novels read through sunglasses while reclining on a chaise lounge by the pool, but there’s quite a bit of substance to the library’s reading selections for adults. They lean heavily on science fiction, with, for instance, competing “moon colony” novels by Andy Weir and Kim Stanley Robinson, among other selections.
The selections for children and teens also rely on sci-fi themes.
The program is quite ambitious, with more events than the most dedicated bookworm could attend. And it extends off of the page, including screenings of popular films like “Hidden Figures” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and concerts of classical and folk music.
The program is co-sponsored by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Bookmarks and Kaplan Early Learning Center.
Along with the books, movies and music, the library has arranged for NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors — representatives who receive their information directly from NASA scientists and engineers — to visit several times this summer to discuss topics such as “Discovering New Planets,” “Our Moon,” “The Perilous Journey of Apollo 13, “To the Moon by 2020” and “What It’s Like to Be Weightless.”
Science fiction is not everybody’s cup of tea. But it’s not all speeding spaceships and little green men. Its fanciful stories and technical gadgets often serve as precursors to innovations that later become commonplace. Its settings and situations often allow us to consider social problems in the abstract, providing insights that otherwise may elude us.
The program includes events at all library branches, from Clemmons to Kernersville.
In keeping with the theme, today’s party — it begins at 6:30 p.m. — will feature space-themed activities and a display of actual moon rocks provided by a NASA ambassador.
All events are free, but registration is required for some participation. For more information, go online to http://www.forsyth.cc/library/ and follow the prompts for “A Universe of Stories.”