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Programs like this one from 2019 will not be a summer feature at Russellville Public Library this year.

Libraries forego summer programs

After much thought and consideration, Russellville Public Library and Weatherford Library in Red Bay have decided not to host summer reading programs this year because of the COVID-19 virus.

Russellville Public Library director Ashley Cummins said with the number of cases in Franklin County, it was the best decision.

“We felt like at this time, that was really the responsible thing to do,” Cummins said. “We just didn’t think it would be safe to have so many kids congregating together like that.”

Weatherford Library director Linda Ezzell said it was hard to decide not to do a summer program this year, but it was also not possible to plan everything in enough time, given the delay caused by the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

“We hate that this happened, but it’s completely out of our control,” Ezzell said.

Both programs typically consist of events and activities to encourage children to read during the summer and incorporate various incentives, such as the pool party for students who participate in the Russellville reading program.

Ezzell said it is going to be difficult not having a summer reading program this year because she will miss seeing the children who participate.

“We will definitely miss getting to see them and interact with them,” Ezzell said.

Cummins agreed it will not be the same this year, not having children fill the library to read, but she does encourage parents and children to keep reading throughout the summer.

“The best part of summer reading programs is they really help combat the summer slide students face whenever they aren’t in school,” Cummins said.

Cummins said this year, with schools not being in session like normal, it is even more important to find ways to encourage children to keep reading and learning over the summer.

“We have lots of e-books and audio books on our website, and the state website also has a lot of educational material,” Cummins said. “We want to encourage students to keep reading.”