SRP Kick-Off: Explore the Sun (part 1)

by Vicky on June 28, 2011

The theme for our branch’s Summer Reading Program kick-off on June 4 was “Explore the Sun.”  I was brimming over with happiness all day because I felt that no branch, anywhere, could have had a more exciting introduction to the joys of reading and learning for fun.

What a line-up we had!  Through our partnership with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (and through relationships forged by our branch manager’s volunteer participation in the museum’s monthly Solar Sunday programs) we had educators from the museum with three telescopes set up for safe sun viewing, and a host of fun experiments and activities.

Everyone could take a rare, safe look at the sun and observe sunspots!

Kids could arrange colored metal train cars along a track according to their prediction of how the colors should line up from hot to cool.  Then they could check the temperatures with an infrared thermometer and adjust the cars to match their actual temperature.  They could also dress up in a white shirt and white hat, or a black shirt and black hat, and measure the temperatures of each.

They could make sun prints and bracelets of white UV-sensitive beads that changed into colored beads in the sunlight.

In the morning, they could attend a special shadow puppet play of the Hawaiian folktale, “How Maui Snared the Sun,” and in the afternoon, they could participate in our monthly Origami Cool Zone and make solar star books!

We had a record gate count, and lots of enthusiastic comments from our patrons.  My favorite was from a single mother with three young daughters, two of whom were adopted Russian children who were still learning English.  She told us that our activities were so educational and fun and stimulating for her children’s emergent literacy.  And, best of all, everything was free!  She said that, as a single mother, she didn’t have much time or money, and that it was fantastic to have all this going on for free right in her neighborhood.  Her kids shyly signed up for the Summer Reading Program and, with glowing faces, checked out books with their new library cards.

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