Summer reading events aren’t just for the kids -- and this program proves it

Do you have a card? (Photo provided by the Orange County Library System)

If you’re a parent, you might know the feeling: You don’t want your kids to sit in front of the TV all summer long and space out on everything they just spent the past school year learning.

A summer reading program is a great “fix” to that potential problem -- your children stay engaged, the books and lessons surrounding the stories are fun, and the program will often sneak education into the mix, without seeming like school. It’s all about balance.

But now we’ll ask ... what are you doing for yourself this summer?

It’s an important question. Coming out of a strange year, living through a global pandemic, we shouldn’t forget about ourselves, and our own self-care and improvement. For some, that might mean personal growth. And it might mean getting involved with a summer reading program for adults.

For adults? Yes, you read that correctly. Such a thing exists, and it’s pretty cool.

This one, offered by the Orange County Library System, transcends what you might remember from reading programs as a kid.

It packs some really neat, unique opportunities -- from a sloth conservation event featuring an expert from Suriname to a similar offering to learn all about manatees, to programs for aspiring writers and readings of chilling campfire tales, collected from small towns and villages across Florida -- there is truly something for everyone.

“There’s lots of focus on the kids overall, but this program is for the adults,” said Christine Lindler, the events and programs development manager for the library. “This gets everyone out there.”

Learn to write a query letter. See if calligraphy might be fun. Attend an event with a New York Times-bestselling author. Watch a cooking demonstration. Lean into strange Florida history. See what nature journaling is all about.

Scroll through this list to determine what sounds interesting to you.

The theme this year is Tails and Tales, hence why you’ll see many activities and opportunities involving animals.

Events are virtual, although if you’d like to participate in challenges to earn digital badges with a chance to win prizes, there are some chances for in-person outings.

You can register for the Adult Summer Reading Program online by using the website or mobile application, Beanstack.

Here’s how it works: Through Beanstack, you can track books read, write book reviews, and participate in those challenges. For every badge you earn in Beanstack, you’ll score a digital ticket. Each ticket can be redeemed toward entry into a prize drawing. The more tickets you earn, the more chances you get to win prizes. Make sense? (Prizes are NOT just for kids, you know!)

The program launched May 30, and runs through Aug. 1.

Anyone can participate. You just need to be 18 years or older, and have an Orange County library card. Sign up here.

Learn more about the program.

Happy reading!