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Local libraries offer summer fun for readers of all ages


NATCHEZ — A universe of stories and activities await children of all ages this summer on both sides of the Mississippi River.

The Judge George W. Armstrong Library in Natchez and the Concordia Parish Library System are getting ready for blastoff into this year’s annual summer reading programs.

The theme for both library systems is “A Universe of Stories!”

Organizers say they have planned a variety of exciting events for toddlers, children, teenagers and adults.

Judge George W. Armstrong Library

Armstrong Library Programming Director Jessica Hawkins said reading program participants will be exploring everything from space exploration to virtual reality and technology.

“There is so much that encompasses a universe,” Hawkins said. “We will not only be exploring space and space exploration (but also) exploring different cultures.”

The signup period for the Armstrong Library Reading Program begins Monday at the library at 220 S. Commerce Street.

Hawkins said the Armstrong Library will kick off its summer reading program at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 1. “The Weaver of Stories” Diane Butler will bring her unique brand of immersive storytelling for the event.

“Diane is a renowned storyteller,” Hawkins said. “She is excited to come here to do some very interactive storytelling. I can’t wait for Natchez to experience her.”

A different day of the week during the summer reading program will be dedicated to a specific age group of readers, Hawkins said.

Tuesday mornings will be dedicated to elementary school-age readers. Starting at 10 a.m., programming will include a special program and arts and crafts. Some of the programming planned consists of a magic show from Mississippi Magic Man, Dorian LaChance, and the opportunity to meet award-winning Mississippi author and illustrator Chuck Galey.

Wednesday mornings will feature programming for adults. Starting at 10 a.m., the programs will highlight a wide range of topics, including fitness, Do-it-yourself projects and the latest in technology.

“Our in-house tech master Patrick Landers will help adults learn how to master the latest trends in technology and especially social media,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said she is especially excited about the event planned for area pre-teens and teenagers.

The library will also continues its movie matinees through the summer at 2:15 p.m. each Wednesday.

Starting at 10:30 each Thursday, the programming for pre-teens and teenagers will include the latest in virtual reality and 3-D printing.

“The virtual reality exploration will help them explore what it is like to be an astronaut for a day,” Hawkins said.

The library, with the assistance of the Mississippi Library Commission, will have a 3-D printer on hand to show to students how the printer work and to help them learn about the latest technology.

For teens interested in galaxies far, far away, a Guardians of the Galaxy Lip Sync Battle is also planned, along with the exploration of the Comic-Con universe — where people of all ages dress up and role play their favorite movie and book characters.

“They get to see what it would be like to be a part of another world, another universe,” Hawkins said. “Adults may want to sneak in for a little bit.”

Concordia Parish Library

Area children have more exciting worlds to explore at the Vidalia, Ferriday, Clayton and Monterey libraries.

The parish summer reading program will be from June 3 to July 19 and include opportunities for preschool (Pre-K through kindergarten), elementary (first through fifth grades) and teens (sixth grade and older).

Preschool programs will be at 9:30 a.m. every Tuesday in the Vidalia Library and every Thursday in the Ferriday Library.

Elementary programs will be at 10:15 a.m. on the following weekdays: Mondays at Concordia Bank in Monterey, Tuesdays at the Vidalia library, Thursdays at the Ferriday library, and Fridays at the Clayton library.

Teen Programs will be at 11:15 a.m. on the following weekdays: Tuesdays at the Vidalia Library and Thursdays at the Ferriday Library.

Concordia Bank, Comfort Suites and the Concordia Parish Library will provide special performances each week with seven special guests to entertain children throughout the summer. The special guests are artists whose work is designed specifically for children’s programming. All programs are free and open to the public for summer fun and learning.

Master storyteller Sylvia Davis will perform on June 6. Davis will perform at 10:15 a.m. at the Ferriday Library and 2 p.m. at the Vidalia Library. Davis is a retired teacher and principal from Rapides Parish who has performed for groups for over 20 years.

Musician Elizabeth “Lady Chops” Vidos will perform on June 11. Also known as Lady Chops, Vidos is a one-woman drumming show with lots of energy playing many different instruments including buckets, body percussion and the Cajun rubboard. Her past work includes performing in the hit show on Broadway “STOMP.” She will be performing at 10:15 a.m. at the Vidalia library and 2 p.m. at the Ferriday library.

The Harvey Rabbit & Friends Puppet Show will showcase their talents on June 18. They will entertain at 10:15 a.m. at the Vidalia Library and 2 p.m. at the Ferriday Library. A regular summer-reading program visitor, Harvey Rabbit, is an energetic puppet who, along with his other puppet friends, partners with former educators Tim and Laura Allured to put on a show packed with music, smiles, and laughter.

Magician, comedian and balloon artist Mitch Richard will perform his magic on June 27. He will perform at 10:15 a.m. at the Ferriday Library and 2 p.m. at the Vidalia Library.

Always popular with summer reading program explorers, “The Snake Man” herpetologist Terry Vandeventer will bring his informative program on July 11. Vandeventer and his snakes will be at the Ferriday Library at 10:15 a.m. and at the Vidalia Library at 2 p.m. Vandeventer is an international expert on reptiles who has 31 years of experience and formerly was in charge of the Jackson Zoo Reptile Department and now serves as Herpetology Field Associate with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

Musicians Brian and Terri Kinder will perform July 18 at the Ferriday Library at 10:15 a.m. and the Vidalia Library at 2 p.m.  Combining guitar and banjo playing talent and funny songwriting skills, the Kinders amuse and entertain children of all ages.

Alethia Lawrence, area assistant nutrition LSU Ag Agent with also present a unique program at 10:15 a.m. on July 1 at Concordia Bank in Monterey, at 9:30 a.m, 10:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. at the Vidalia Library, and 10:15 a.m. at the Clayton Library.

Special programs planned for adults and families include a Patsy Cline tribute at 7 p.m. on July 25 at Concordia Bank & Trust Co. Kim Dewitt, accompanied by Rod Payne and Carvel Avis, will take a walk down memory lane as they perform country favorites by the talented artist.

Scholar Georgiann Potts will discuss “Neil Armstrong: One Man’s Step Into History” at 6 p.m. on Aug. 1 at the Vidalia Library. Potts will share how man has always looked to the heavens in wonder since time began and how one man’s life and experience led to the most important moment in history for humankind to date. Delta Bank will co-sponsor the evening discussion.