SIKESTON â€" It's true readers of all ages exist, but there can also come a time when readers â€" often teenagers â€" loses interest in reading.
"After they get their (driver's) licenses, I hardly see them in here," admitted Sikeston Public Library's children's librarian Ann Thompson about teenagers.
So for the first time the Sikeston Public Library will include young adults in its upcoming summer reading program.
"There are so many pressures from school and extracurricular activities, and they have so much assigned reading during the school year, they get turned off from leisure reading for a while," said Ron Eifert, the library's assistant director.
It was with the help of the Eifert, and board member Jackie Cowan, who is also a former school librarian, that Thompson said she was able to offer a summer reading program that included young adults this year.
"Our goal is to continue building on some of the work Ann has done with younger readers and really try to keep them coming into the library," Eifert said.
The library is also making a young adult reading area complete with bean bags and a big tapestry located right off from the young adult books section.
Eifert, Thompson and Cowan hope to attract young adults visually and through subject matter, Eifert said. He noted the library staff had to find titles that appealed to the young adults.
"It's a balancing act. They're not adults, but they've outgrown juvenile books," Eifert said.
Each year the Sikeston Public Library takes part in the national Collaborative Summer Library Program, which consists of 28 states. This year's theme, "Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds," applies to all ages and all members of the program.
"What interested me is the medieval-type books that could be read and all of the hands-on things," Thompson said.
For the tweens and teens, Thompson chose the book, "The Castle in the Attic," to read during the summer program. Each week the adolescents will read four chapters and do a hands-on craft or play games.
For example, one week the young adults will make paper and practice writing calligraphy. They'll also write Haiku poetry and even do some creative writing. But Thompson is quick to point out the program will be lots of fun.
"I don't want them to feel like going to school," Thompson said.
Since this is the first year for a summer reading program for young adults, Thompson and Eifert agreed it's also a learning process.
"If they read only one or two leisure books this summer, that's probably more than they would have," Eifert said.
In addition to the teen program, a preschool story hour for children, ages 2-5 will continue for the five-week program, running on the theme, Thompson said.
"We don't go more than 45 minutes and we do stories, singing and board stories and simple craft," Thompson said.
But Thompson said the biggest draw for the children entering grades K-5 is the "Magician Storyteller," Chris O'Brien of Carbondale, Ill.
"He tells a story and does magic as he tells a story," Thompson explained.
The "Magic Storyteller" will be at the first day of each K-2 and 3-5 session. The next three sessions will be thematic to the unit and consist of stories, crafts and foods from medieval times. Children will make "mead," which Thompson compared to an old-time Kool-Aid.
"Back then they had water and put fruit in it and made what they called mead." Thompson explained.
Participants will also receive giveaways which include savings bonds and prizes. Those who read a certain amount of books also qualify for prizes. Registration is not required to participate, Thompson said.
Both New Madrid and Mississippi County libraries are taking on the "Dragons, Dreams and Deeds" theme.
New Madrid County's four-week program for children ages 6-12 will be from July 5- July 29 at various locations. The program, which will be facilitated by Jeannie Adams. Participants take part in a series of activities and read at least eight books.
"Even if a child cannot attend a program, he or she can participate and do the reading," said Tom Sadler, director of the New Madrid County libraries.
The "Magic Storyteller" will also visit the Mississippi County. The summer reading program sponsored by the Clara Drinkwater Newnam Library in Charleston and the Mitchell Memorial Library in East Prairie is from June 15 through Aug. 17 and is open to preschool age through young adult with programs, prize drawings, story hours and more.