picture by: Photo by Eric Ayres
WHEELING — The Ohio County Public Library’s summer reading program kicks off Monday, and a truly innovative effort has been made to help transform the library into an immersive bookworm wilderness.
The outdoors theme offers a motif filled with camping, hiking, and nature-loving landscapes for the library’s “Reading Beyond the Beaten Path” summer reading program, which is open to everyone. The program begins on June 6 and continues until July 16.
“Studies have shown that children lose a lot of the skills they learned during the school year in the summer if they don’t read,” said Lee Ann Cleary, specialist in the children’s department at the public library of the Ohio county.
Summer reading programs began as a way to help schools combat this “summer slide” and the inevitable decline in students’ reading skills during the summer holidays. While summer reading typically targets school-aged students, Cleary said people of all ages are encouraged to participate, setting a great example for young readers.
“For everyone, it’s a great way to enjoy reading, but it’s also important to show kids that reading can be enjoyed for life and that it’s about life. ‘an enjoyable pastime,’ Cleary said. “Children are more likely to read if they see adults they love sitting down to read, which is why we encourage all ages to join the summer reading program, read and win prizes. .”
During the program, attendees can log their playtime to earn badges and prizes throughout the event.
To help improve the ambience at the library to match the theme of summer reading, the library staff recruited the talents of a well-known local artist and some skilled artisans.
The library has partnered with Wheeling-based nationally acclaimed illustrator Logan Schmitt to help promote the program. Schmitt has produced an extra-large print of his “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia” artwork, which will be on display throughout the program.
Schmitt grew up near the woods in Wheeling, and since establishing his reputation as an accomplished illustrator, he has worked with a wide range of nationally known musicians.
Schmitt’s artwork can be seen on official tour posters and T-shirts by artists such as the Dave Matthews Band, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, Van Morrison, Billy Strings, Old Crow Medicine Show, Greensky Bluegrass, Luke Combs , The Avett Brothers, The Devil Makes Three, Slightly Stoopid and many more. He has also been commissioned to create artwork for Four String Brewing Co., the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the City of Columbus, and other organizations.
His piece at the library features black bears and forest landscapes that capture West Virginia’s “Wild, Wonderful” motto.
“This was originally done for a poster by the Avett Brothers for a show they did in Morgantown,” Schmitt said Friday when touring the finished exhibit at the library. “I kind of repurposed it as a regular art print so anyone could get it. I was inspired by a waterfall in Thomas, WV near Davis, WV in the Canaan Valley where this beautiful orange rock formation surrounded by a waterfall is located.
The work has been reproduced in many forms for the library’s summer reading program, Schmitt explained.
“We also did stickers and a screen-printed version of this print,” he said, noting that he’s been a loyal patron of the Ohio County Public Library for years. “I was happy to do it.”
Another great addition to the library’s children’s department was installed last week by Cattrell Co. Inc. and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 186 and 432. A new tree of books has taken root just in time for the program’s launch. of summer reading. .
The tree features larger-than-life leaves that shade a campfire mat for children to sit on during activities, such as story time. The base of the tree includes storage space for books, toys and other items for future activities. The trunk of the tree is made up of shelves that house books for the department’s new OCPL Kids! Book loan program. Seating is available for story time or other reading on the bench at the base of the tree or on the nearby padded “tree stump”.
For more information about the Ohio County Public Library’s summer reading program and other activities, visit the library’s website at www.ohiocountylibrary.org or call 304 -232-0244.