Story time

Kandee Flores, an assistant youth services librarian at the Temple Public Library, reads a children’s book during a virtual story time session that is part of the library’s summer reading program.

Learning to adapt has been key this year for both children and parents aiming to be a part of the Temple Public Library’s annual summer reading program.

The library had to make several changes to its program this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City spokesman Cody Weems said the program, which began on June 1, has received help to provide virtual programs such as story times.

“The program rewards children for reading or being read to by a parent or caregiver,” Weems said. “Because we are unable to host programs in-house this year, we offered virtual programs on the library’s Facebook page —weekly story times and guest performers, sponsored by the Friends of the Temple Public Library.”

The library has seen a steep drop in the number of participants this year with a total of 914 currently enrolled, about 34 percent lower than the usual 1,400 children that participate each year.

Erin Gaines, youth services librarian, said that while guest performances have ended for the summer the library’s storytimes continue each week on Wednesday mornings. She said the library uses its Facebook page and YouTube channel to help residents watch storytime sessions from home.

The move online has allowed some new activates such as performer Mad Science to demonstrate science experiments with children and their parents following along from home.

For those children reading this summer the library has continued a curbside book delivery program, along with removing seating inside the library, to encourage quick visits.

“It’s been challenging, but thanks to the support of our sponsors, creative and dedicated staff, and understanding patrons, we’ve been able to make the most of it,” Gains said. “We look forward to one day being able to host in-person events for children, teens, and families again.”

The library plans on continuing its summer programming for a few more weeks, ending Aug. 22.