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Library Director Joy Garretson operates the new Interactive Ball Run machine. Each ball gets cranked through the machine represents a completed SRP challenge. The Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library in Clayton is gearing up to launch this year’s Summer Reading Program, themed “Tails and Tales.”

Library staff members have eagerly anticipated the return to in-person programming for more than year, and the Summer Reading Program (SRP) event calendar does not disappoint.

The program runs from June 12 through July 23 and will include more than 20 unique events, including feature presentations by the Piedmont Wildlife Center, NC Arboretum, North Carolina Symphony, Carolina Youth Theatre, and Carolina Tiger Rescue.   

“Our librarians are ready to welcome readers of all ages - kids, teens, and adults - and create a fun, engaging, and educational community experience,” said Library Director Joy Garretson.

According to Grace Davis, who stepped into the role of Children's Librarian in February, she is overjoyed to finally meet Clayton's readers and their families.  

“I have been hard at work creating over 14 different animal-themed events and programs for our Tails and Tales Summer Reading Program,” said Davis. “This program aims to build a community of readers and instill a love of reading from birth through adulthood. I encourage everyone in Clayton to join us as we read, explore, and learn together through books, events, and activities this summer.”   

The SRP will commence with a Popsicle Party in the Library Garden on June 12, from 10 a.m. to noon. The outdoor Popsicle Party does not require registration. However, to prioritize the health and safety of visitors, most other events will have limited capacity and require registration. Library users can sign up for the program via the ReadSquared app, which can be accessed at claytonlibrary.readsquared.com. The app allows readers to register and earn points toward incentives for logging time spent reading, attending special events, and completing activities or challenges.

Children in grades K-5 who register for the summer reading program can visit the library and receive a free book made possible by funds from the Friends of the Library.

The librarians have also planned crafts, games, and social events specifically for teens. On Friday, June 25, the library is transforming the classic mystery game of CLUE into a scavenger hunt. Teens will search for clues, barter for evidence, and solve a murder mystery.  

Additionally, teenagers can look forward to the “Teen Talk” book club, which will meet face-to-face for the first time on July 8.   

According to Librarian Mardia Jacobs, adults are also encouraged to frequent the library this summer and explore new reading material. Visitors will notice the library has added many new titles to the shelves, and staff have built up online collections of eBooks and eAudiobooks.

Library staff have also displayed top titles that might have missed over the past year and are welcoming book reviews and suggestions from patrons.    

Teens and adults can also use the ReadSquared app and enter for a chance to win incentives ranging from themed gift baskets to Amazon gift cards.   

The Summer Reading Program event calendar and other details can be found at ClaytonNC.org/Library and @ClaytonLibrary on Facebook and Instagram. Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library is located in Downtown Clayton at 100 S. Church Street. 

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