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Beyond Books: A Busy Summer Of Activities At The Ann Arbor District Library

Ann Arbor District Library
Lisa Barry
89.1 WEMU

A local library, at least in Ann Arbor, is much more than just about books.  So, WEMU has partnered with the Ann Arbor District Library for “Beyond Books” talking about the many different events going on there.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry talks to Rich Reyti and Nicole Williams about “The Summer Game” and the many other activities they are hosting.



The current AADL Summer Game grew out of the Library's Summer Reading Program, which incentivized kids and teens to read books throughout the summer. The Library had been doing this since at least the 1930s, with different themes cropping up in news reports in the 40s and 50s. 

Here's "A Trip to the Moon," where 112 students read 10 books or more during summer vacation. Each book advanced their astronaut one step closer to the moon.  For their effort, the kids got extra credit at their schools.

The modern Summer Game is a little different. In 2011, an online component joined the classic Summer Reading Program, which featured riddles and challenges that could be solved by searching AADL's online catalog and the web.  These codes earned players points, which they used in a Summer Game shop packed with things like t-shirts and water bottles and messenger bags and toys. 

Today, the Summer Game includes the classic Summer Reading Program and an expanded Summer Game, that includes scavenger hunts for codes in local parks, museums, and businesses, the online catalog search, and more.  Plus the Summer Game shop as well.
In 2018, 15,875 people participated in the Summer Reading Program and 8,200 players participated in the Summer Game itself—up from 7,200 in 2017 and 6,200 in 2016. We hope this year will be the biggest and best Summer Game ever!

This is the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival, which celebrates its 10th year in June (running June 14-16).  It promotes and celebrates a lifelong love of comics, with workshops, activities, and one-on-one encounters between comic makers and readers.  We have dozens of amazing artists visit us each year to table and talk to patrons about their work and the industry. 
AADL is hosting Sunday Night Kids Rock at TOP again this year, featuring kid-friendly musical acts that will blow you away. Shows run for three weeks in a row, starting on Father's Day (June 16).  We've got the interactive, super galactic sounds of Michael and the Rockness Monsters, Latin Grammy award-winning international star Mister G, and Grammy nominated "indie-hindi" group, Falu's Bazaar. 
We also do programs at the Summer Fest annex, and this year is going to blow people's minds.  We'll start off easy with a block printing workshop on June 19, then host an 80s craft party on June 25, then wrap it up with one of our most popular programs to date—a Bob Ross Paint-Along right at TOP on July 2.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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