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Library offers prizes for readers, host of June activities
Summer reading pic
Zefyra Mazuelos, Allee DePalma and Peg Coburn play Minute to Win It games at the Turlock Public Librarys Summer Reading Program kickoff event. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Batman, Deadpool and “Star Wars” characters Kylo Ren and Rey were on hand at the Turlock Public Library on Saturday to help kick off the annual Summer Reading Program, which helps students sharpen their reading skills while on break from school. Amid the games, obstacle courses and superheroes that filled the lawn was an opportunity for parents to sign themselves or their children up for the program.

“We just wanted to have something that would get the families to come out together,” said Regional Children’s Librarian Michelle Coxford. “It’s something fun for them to do while we sign them up for the program and get them going.”

The Summer Reading Program has helped students keep up with their literature over the summer for many years now, but according to Coxford this is only the second time the library has hosted a kickoff event. A “laser beam” obstacle course, tunnel, can toss, craft table and “Minute to Win It” challenges kept children of all ages entertained, all while encouraging them to take the challenge of reading throughout their long-awaited break.

“A lot of people think the library is just books, but we’re not just books anymore,” said Coxford. “I want it to be a destination where people can come and interact in a positive environment with their kids and have a good time with it.”

Audrey Cortez has been coming to the Turlock Public Library since she was a child and now brings her granddaughter, Finley, to story time every week. The reading program is a way for Cortez to pass down a literary tradition and keep Finley engaged in learning.

“We’re always looking for something fun to do,” said Cortez of the program. “It’s fantastic – we love it!”

Readers of all ages are able to participate in the reading program, which caters to three specific age groups and is free of charge. Children up to age eight are in one group and to take part must spend at least 30 minutes a day reading or being read to. After seven days of reading, they can then bring their reading log – signed by a parent – back to the library to collect a prize.

Kids from ages nine through 18 need to read for at least an hour every day to take part in the program. After seven days or hours of reading, they can also bring their reading log back to the library and be entered to win prizes, such as Amazon gift cards. If the student completes their entire reading log and returns it to the library, they can be entered to win a Kindle Fire HD.

Although the emphasis on the reading program is to help children stay up-to-date in school, it is not limited to students; adults over the age of 18 can also participate. For every book completed, adults can fill out a review sheet and return it to the library for a chance to win prizes including a quilt or a Fitbit.

For those who may have missed the Summer Reading Program’s kickoff event and would still like to participate, visit the Turlock Public Library to sign up and receive a reading log. Registration is also available at

Along with the Summer Reading Challenge, local branches of the Stanislaus County Library will offer a number of special events throughout June:


Turlock Library

Crafters can make abstract art using rubbing alcohol and ink on a square tile canvas at 4 p.m. today. This program promotes creativity and individuality, and is designed for ages 8 and older. 

Turlock Wiggle Worms offers participants storybooks, lap bounces, music, dancing, rhythm activities, fingerplays and more at this special program for babies, active toddlers, and adult caregivers at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. every Wednesday in June.  

Turlock Preschool Story Time will feature new and classic picture books, flannel board  and puppet stories, fingerplays, music and dancing, all for preschoolers aged 3-5 and their caregivers at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. every Thursday in June. This Story Time is designed for 3 - 6 year olds but all ages are welcome. 

The next meeting of Turlock Teens Talk Books will be at 3 p.m. Saturday. Teens are invited to share their newest favorite read. Teens are also invited for join in for the library's first ever Creative Writing Club at 11 a.m. every Monday in June, starting June 6. Students ages 13 to 18 can write and share their ideas on fiction, poetry and more.  This creatively safe forum will allow teens to explore different types of literature while pursuing their passion for writing.   

Library staff will lead a Tech Connect seminar  at 2 p.m. every Monday in June. The topics include: the Library's website (June 6), Computer Basics (June 13), Internet Basics (June 20) and Free eBooks and Downloadable Audio books (June 27).

The next STEAM Works session at 4 p.m. June 7 is all about basketball. Following a reading of "Hoop Genius" by John Coy, participants will explore different types of balls used in a variety of sports and learn how they differ from one another in ability.  Children will learn measurement and physical science concepts as well as teamwork and positive sportsmanship.  STEAM Works is designed for children in kindergarten and older; children 4 and under must be supervised by a parent.

Kids will learn basic engineering and science skills while developing their own courses at a marble races event at 4 p.m. June 8.  This program is designed for children 8 and older. 

The Turlock Teen Advisory Board will meet at 4 p.m. June 8. Turlock teens can share their ideas and earn community service credit. For more information, call (209) 664-8100. 

All ages are welcome to create a family flag at 4 p.m. June 14. Children will have an opportunity to practice their fine motor skills and use their creativity to create a family flag using a variety of materials, including construction paper, craft sticks, felt, and more.  

Families are invited to join in for the hilarious antics and frolicking high energy of Randel McGee and Groark at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. June 15.  Children will relate to Groark, the loveable yet mischievous dragon, as he stumbles through the mishaps of life.  Don’t worry though, Randel McGee is always close by his side to point him in the right direction when he goes off course.
As a seasoned performer, Randel McGee's fast-paced, high-energy blend of stand-up comedy, witty banter, original songs, and hilarious storytelling appeals to young and old alike around the world.

Parents can bring their cameras and join in for a special Story Time appearance by the Turlock Fire Department at 10 a.m. June 16. The firefighters will share a story, talk about fire safety, and allow families to get up close to the fire truck.  This event will be held outside the library on the lawn.  A regular Story Time will be held at 11 a.m. inside the library.

Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth will be the special guest for a Story Time event for the whole family at 7 p.m. June 20.  There will be stories, music, fingerplays, and fun.  This program is ideal for 4 to 8 year-olds, however all ages are welcome. 

Children will have the opportunity to play and experiment with soap bubbles and different types of wands at 4 p.m. June 21. Join us for this fun, yet messy outdoor program.

The Lightbox Children’s Theatre and Carnegie Arts group will conduct an hour-long interactive workshop based on a popular story from children’s literature at 4 p.m. June 22. Participants will learn how to reinvent stories through the use of movement and voice.  Recommended for children ages 6 and older.

Children will have the opportunity to build LEGO displays for the library at 4 p.m. June 28. LEGO play helps children develop fine motor skills. Children under 4 are welcome, but must have direct adult supervision.

In celebration of Shark Week, participants can create their very own ocean waves at 4 p.m. June 29.  This craft is designed for kids to take home. The Ocean in a Bottle craft is intended for children 8 and older; children under 4 must have direct adult supervision.

The Turlock Library is located at 550 N. Minaret Ave. For more information, call 664-8100.


Keyes Library

The Keyes Library will start off its June activities at 1 p.m. today with a tortoise craft. After a reading of the story "The Tortoise and the Hare," children can make a fun tortoise craft. 

Children can come to the library at 1 p.m. June 8 and make a cute and edible skateboarding bunny using cookies and marshmallows.

Visit the library at 11 a.m. June 9 to witness the incredible hand-blown bubbles of Bubblesmith Sterling Johnson.  Discover the amazing things that can be done with bubbles.

Enjoy storybooks, music, dancing, rhythm activities, fingerplays and more at the Keyes Preschool Story Time offered at 10 a.m. June 13, 20 and 27. This special program is for children ages 3 - 6, and adult caregivers.  

Learn about space exploration at 3 p.m. June 14  at the next  STEAM program. During this program, children will discuss Mars rovers and will have the opportunity to build a model rover or space shuttle. This program is for children ages 10 – 14.This program is supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of  Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

Children can make a card for dad using their own creativity and envelopes at 1 p.m. June 15.

Children can make a remote-control vehicle during the June 21 STEAM program, starting at 3 p.m. This program is recommended for children ages 10 – 14.

Families can come to the library and play croquet outside at 10 a.m. or come by at 1 p.m. to play indoor miniature golf on June 22.

Children ages 10-14 can assemble electrical circuits and create electricity utilizing wind power at the 3 p.m. June 28 STEAM program.

Families can let their creativity explode with a patriotic craft at 1 p.m. June 29, just in time for the Fourth of July. Crafters can make a visor to wear on Independence Day and all summer long. 

The Keyes Library is located at 4420 Maud Ave. For more information, call 664-8006.



 Denair Library

The Denair Library will offer a number of free programs in June, beginning with the Beat the Heat coloring program on Tuesdays from noon to 6 p.m. The library will provide coloring pages and coloring implements.

Children can enjoy making Puzzle Picture Frames from noon to 5 p.m. on June 8. Crafters will decorate craft stick pictures frames with a variety of puzzle pieces.

Children and teens can take part in a Duct Tape Craft at 3 p.m. June 9. The library will provide a variety of duct tapes for crafters to use in creating a number of designs.

Randel McGee and his puppet, Groark, will visit the library at 1 p.m. June 15. Families are invited to enjoy the comedic antics of Groark the dragon during this free show.

The library will host a Magnet Craft for teens at 3 p.m. June 16. Participants will make magnets out of flat glass marbles and bottle caps.

Children can make glow worm bracelets from noon to 5 p.m. June 22. Crafters will use glow sticks and craft foam to make decorative bracelets.

The library’s monthly STEAM Challenge will take place at 3 p.m. June 23. This month’s challenge will focus on science and art. Children and teens will learn about ultraviolet (UV) radiation while creating a UV ray detecting bracelet.

Children are invited to a painting program from noon to 5 p.m. June 29. Participants can visit the library during this time to recreate the night sky using resist painting techniques.

A Perler beads program will be held at 3 p.m. June 30. Participants will have the opportunity to create unique designs using colorful beads. When heat is applied, the beads fuse together, preserving each design.

The Denair Library is located at 4801 Kersey Road in Denair. For more information about programs at the Denair Library, call (209) 634-1283.