I’ve always loved summer.
As a child, as much as I loved school, I savored the carefree, homework-less days of summer. Lemonade stands, sleepovers, and endless sunlight made summertime almost magical. I made the most of swimming lessons, riding bikes, and running through the sprinklers. But one of my other summer faves was taking family trips to the Omaha Public Library (Millard Branch) and signing up for the Summer Reading Program. My mom would walk the three of us Mimick kids, plus our cousin Nikki, up to the circulation desk and register us for a summer brimming with books. We filled our bags so full the handles struggled to keep up and I can remember the way my muscles protested as I tried to lift my bag into the backseat of the car.
Every afternoon during the summer, we headed to individual rooms so that we could do our reading for the day. I remember pulling my books out of the bag and immersing myself in the worlds of Ramona Quimby, Nancy Drew, and the Babysitters Club. Once an hour had passed, Mom would call us downstairs for a snack. Some days we’d head out back to swim in the plastic pool or run through the sprinklers. Other days, we’d go down to the basement to play Barbies (many days, we spent so much time selecting our Barbies and getting them ready that we were no longer interested in actually playing with them anymore). But always, every day, we read.
Each year, even as I progressed out of picture books and easy readers, I found myself adding some of those old favorites into my bag. The prizes that we earned along the way (Little King coupons, bookmarks) were a nice treat, but the trips to the library and the books themselves were what made the Summer Reading Program so special.
I’ve never stopped reading, and summer has remained my favorite time to do it. As a teacher, I am lucky to still have a summer break (though these days I fill my summer with much more than swimming lessons and popsicles), and that summer break is always filled with books.
While sitting in the Dundee Elementary Library a couple of years ago, listening to the representative from AV Sorenson branch talk to my students about the Summer Reading Program, I was thrilled to learn that an adult section had been added. I am currently participating in this year’s SRP Between the Covers (which I think is quite aptly named for the summer everyone is reading 50 Shades of Grey) and I fall more in love with the library every time that I go. Even though I know full-well that I have a number of unread books at home, I cannot resist checking out new ones from the library. I love the promise that a new book offers – escape, information, a story. (A number of years ago I took the Gallup Strengthsfinder survey, and one of my top five strengths was input. My obsession with books and magazines has to be a characteristic of that strength.)
I am so grateful for the summer. It get to relax. I get to read. And I get to reacquaint myself with one of my favorite places – the library.
A note: While watching the Today Show this morning, they interviewed a man who was talking about his second career as a sand sculptor. One of the things he said really spoke to me. “Find something that feeds your soul, that keeps you excited. Don’t quit your job, but just make that a bigger park of your life.” I feel quite blessed that my job, teaching, is something that feeds my soul, as well as writing, reading, and dancing. I try to keep all of these things in my life. Find yours and, as the Fine Lines workshop I attended this summer suggests, follow your bliss.