Last year's Maryville Public Library summer reading program set a record for participation by Nodaway County youngsters, and prospects are looking good for an even stronger initiative in 2013.
Director Stephanie Patterson was Notified Jan. 30 that the library has received a $3,529 grant that will be used to enhance summer reading activities for young people when the program gets underway again in late May.
The federal funds, provided through the Institute of Museum & Library Services, will be used to provide three live presentations, including a puppet-making session and two workshops by Mad Science of Greater Kansas City, a kid-centered "infotainment" show featuring science-related humor, activities and demonstrations.
Patterson said grant money will also make possible the purchase $500 worth of new children's books and cover additional staff hours for pre-literacy skills classes targeting toddlers and pre-schoolers.
In addition, funding has been earmarked for flyers and paid advertising to publicize various summer reading activities, which will continue through the end of July.
Among the offerings this summer will be the "Classics Challenge," in which children who choose to do so will be asked to read a young person's adaptation of the "Odyssey," an ancient Greek epic attributed to the poet Homer.
Considered one of the fundamental works of Western literature, the adventure-rich tale tells the story of Odysseus (or Ulysses) and his 10-year journey back to his home island of Ithaca following the Trojan War.
The Puffin Classics adaptation by Geraldine McCaughrean is tailored for readers in second through about fifth grade.
In addition to the grant, Patterson said this year's summer reading program is also being sponsored by the Maryville Pride Lions Club, whose $500 donation will be used to buy prizes and gifts for young readers.
A total of 385 young people participated in last summer's program, and Patterson said she is hoping that at least 400 children will sign up this year.
For more information about summer reading opportunities — and other programs offered by the library year round — call (660) 582-5281. Located at 509 N. Main St., the library is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday.