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ALTON - The Hayner Public Library District is prepared to start their Summer Reading Program, complete with balloon animals, fairy gardens and plenty of books.

The Summer Reading Program is a statewide initiative that aims to provide activities for kids while encouraging them to read. Starting in June, the program will include a full month of crafts, performances, games and storytimes almost every day of the week at Hayner Library. This year’s theme is Read, Renew, Repeat, and most of the activities will include information about conservation and animals.

“We’re planning. We’re getting excited,” said Sharon Windham, youth and young adult manager, who oversees much of the Summer Reading Program. “It’s going to be here before we know it.”

Windham explained that Hayner will have a Summer Reading Program for both kids and teenagers. She said they have been planning this year’s Summer Reading Program since last September, and the Hayner staff is excited to kick off another great year of activities and reading. Hundreds of kids will participate in this year’s program.

Parents are encouraged to register their children at, which allows them to track their kids’ reading progress. As the kids read, they earn badges and prizes at the library. There are three big prizes that will be given out at the end of the summer, and kids can earn tickets to enter the drawing for these prizes.

“All they have to do is some reading, and they’re going to win some good stuff,” Windham added.

Kids’ Summer Reading Program

The children’s Summer Reading Program is aimed for children of all ages, from “the little bitties all the way up to fifth or sixth graders,” Windham said. There are activities almost every day of the week.

On Mondays, kids ages 2–6 can participate in a recycled craft from 10–11 a.m. They will make bottle cap flowers, newspaper sharks and more using recycled materials.

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On Tuesdays from 10–11 a.m., the popular Kids Stories and Art will return. As children listen to a story, Jenn Dunnegan from Grokking Tree will complete an art project based on the themes of the story. One lucky winner will take home the art piece.

From 12–2 p.m. every other Tuesday, older kids ages 6–18 can stop by The Nature Institute to assist a steward in creating a fairy garden trail. On alternating Tuesdays, families with children ages 3–10 can also enjoy the Story Walk with a coordinated activity from 12–2 p.m.

“On Wednesdays, we always have a performer,” Windham said. “This year, we’re going to have a lot of performers that have to deal with animals. Since our theme is Read, Renew, Repeat, we’re talking about recycling, land conservation, endangered animals. The animal performers are always a big hit with our kids.”

Kids can expect presentations and performances by the World Bird Sanctuary, Fred and His Feathered Friends, Twist and Bounce and several others. These performances take place from 10–11 a.m. every Wednesday morning.

On Thursdays, older kids ages 6–12 can complete a Conservation Kids activity at the Alton Square Mall location. This includes a science project or craft that is related to conservation. Also on Thursdays, kids can participate in the Endangered Animal Quest Scavenger Hunt where they follow clues to learn how to use the library. All participants get to pick a prize from the treasure chest.

On Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., kids can enjoy Come, Play, and Stay, a day-long pop-in program that encourages kids to play together at different stations throughout the library. Hayner will have puzzles, Legos, games and crafts set up throughout the day.

Teens’ Summer Reading Program

Just like the kids, teens can register on to track their reading and earn tickets toward three big prizes at the end of the summer. On Mondays and Wednesdays, teenagers are encouraged to come to the library to complete crafts, play video games and spend time together.

“They can just hang out with other teens,” Windham explained. “We’re getting a lot of teens from the Riverbend area, so they’re making a lot of new friendships in our programs. It’s for teens, but it’s cool teens. It’s cool to come to the library.”

Windham and Hayner Executive Director Mary Cordes noted that the Summer Reading Program is the library’s busiest time of the year, and it wouldn’t be possible without all of the staff members who work hard to ensure it goes off without a hitch.

“If we didn’t have the staff that we have, we wouldn’t be able to do all these things,” Cordes added. “Whether it’s just checking in a book and checking out a book or planning the Summer Reading Program or whatever it is, everybody is instrumental in making sure that we pull it off year after year after year. It’s amazing. We have hundreds of kids that participate in these programs. That’s a lot of families.”

For more information about the Summer Reading Program, including a full calendar of events, visit the official Hayner Public Library District website at or call them at 618-462-0677.

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