Re-enactors aren’t the only ones following the Lewis and Clark trail this summer. The Daniel Boone Regional Library’s summer reading program for children is called Discover New Trails @ Your Library.
The themed journey celebrates the bicentennial of Lewis and Clark’s epic westward trek with story times, book lists, music programs and other activities.
The summer reading program is an annual event at the library, to keep children reading and visiting the library.
“It’s so much fun for them,” said Karen Heaston, who has signed up her four daughters, ages 3 to 7, at the Columbia Public Library “It’s a lot of fun for them to keep track (of their reading).”
On Monday, the day this year’s program kicked off, the Columbia library was decked in a pioneer theme: “Beware of Bears” and “No Whaling” signs hung on the ends of bookshelves. “Pioneer Living,” a traveling hands-on museum owned by Journey Back in Time, was set up throughout the children’s section of the library.
“(The) focus is kids doing, doing, doing pioneer activities,” said the traveling museum’s curator, Tammy Hess, dressed in a floor-length dress with a blue apron. “The toys are incredibly popular, so are panning for gold and shaving (with a lather brush), but they are all a hit with the kids.”
Children wandered from station to station — playing in a Sioux tepee, “washing clothes” with a scrub board and then wringing them out with a washing machine from the 1850s, or making bracelets from carded wool.
Six-year-old Lauren D. Coddington- Warnken said the toys were her favorite. Still, she gave the other stations a shot and went on to describe how she made herself a bracelet saying, “I had to wind it all up and tie it but I had a little help.”
“I think we did everything twice,” said Coddington-Warnken’s father, Todd Coddington. “It’s a wonderful display.”
Children signing up for the Discover New Trails program wrote their names on yellow paper cut out like covered wagons. Later, those wagons will form a paper trail in the library.
Each participant also received a trail map of the Missouri River, running from Miami, Mo., to New Haven, Mo., with cities representing either one of 15 activities or one of the 15 hours of reading the child must complete to finish the trail. Each activity or reading hour is stamped by a librarian, and, when the map is full, the child receives a T-shirt.
The activities include attending a library program, visiting a zoo, reading a book with a cover the reader does not like, exploring the back yard and drawing a picture of a living creature they find. The exercises are meant to get the children interested in new subjects.
The library is also offering other summer activities for children. The Children’s Theatre of Florida’s adaptation of “The Odyssey” next month, for example, will expose children to myth. “Fingerprints Gone Wild,” also next month, will help children turn their fingerprints to art.
Rebecca Finley has signed up her three children for their third summer reading program, because it “encourages reading on a regular basis and has fun things to do with little incentives,” she said.
Children’s librarian Sarah Howard said that in the 16 years she has been involved, the library’s summer program has grown along with the city.
“The kids have stayed the same,” said Howard, who has been in charge of the Columbia library program for several years. “They want to read, they want to have fun, and it gets them excited about it.”