Off the Shelf: “Build a Better World” – Summer Reading Program 2017

Assemble your most curious, energetic learners. Set up the environment so they can evolve into the engineers, carpenters and inventors of the future. Model habits of reflecting, questioning, composing and dreaming. Make great literature available. Compile a wonderful collection of nonfiction. Put together games and puzzles, crafts and activities designed to forge friendships and bring about laughter. Maintain a technology corner. Fashion a functional calendar to keep it all organized, and you have successfully designed a Summer Reading Program that will produce better readers! (Highlighted words are all synonyms for “build”!)

Every curious, energetic learner in New Ulm is invited to come to the library and sign up for the 2017 Summer Reading Program, “Build a Better World.” Registration for the reading challenge and special events begins June 5, and the program continues through July 31.

This year, readers will receive a calendar, and they will be asked to mark each day that they read for at least 20 minutes. (Reading is defined as reading to self, reading to others, or being read to.) The goal of the program is to promote daily reading habits. Children are encouraged to keep reading material in spots where they are likely to read. Some favorite hangouts for books, audiobooks and magazines are by a comfortable chair, at your bedside, in the bathroom, and in the car (wherever you might sit still for a few minutes)! Kids should bring their calendar to the Children’s Room every week, and they will get a bead for a chain necklace for each day they read. Special prizes await students who read five or seven days each week!

Incentives and rewards are covered largely by generous donations from the Friends of the New Ulm Public Library, 3M, and many local restaurants and merchants. Some special events are made possible by Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative with funding from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

The calendar is filled with activities for which kids can sign up. Many of them are designed for certain ages, and most of them have space limits. These include drawing, painting, creating, makerspace, fish prints, geocaching, archery, digital photography, bookmaking and pottery. Sign-up is on a first-come, first-served basis beginning June 5 at 9:30 a.m.

Storytime will be held in the Meeting Room on Mondays at 10 a.m. and on Thursdays at 2 p.m. from June 8-July 27. Storytime is especially for children ages 2-8, but kids of all ages are welcome. There will be folk tales and books, songs and poems from around the world!

Crafts and games will always be available in the Children’s Room. We will be creating rain sticks and doing some weaving and aboriginal dot painting. Wooden blocks, Jenga, puzzles, I-pads and Legos are all favorites of the younger crowd.

We are planning to Skype with someone from a different country each week. People in New Ulm who have international connections have been helping make that happen!

Everyone is invited to German Park on Tuesday, June 6 at 2 p.m. for a performance by the Everett Smithson Band, which will entertain the masses and then distribute harmonicas to all of the children and give them a lesson. Peter Bloedel will perform his “Perpetual Vaudeville Show” on Tuesday, June 20 at 2 p.m. at the Community Center. Pegeen Rozeski will demonstrate shoemaking on Tuesday, July 11 at 1 p.m. in the Children’s Room. On Tuesday, July 18 at 1 p.m., you can watch JoAnn Hull at her spinning wheel. All of the participants are invited to the Rec Center for “Swim and Gym” on Monday, July 31 from 6-8 p.m.  Summer Reading Program special events are listed on the library’s website,, under “Library Events.”  

The plan is to BUILD A BETTER WORLD – starting right here in New Ulm. The more the merrier!


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