King County Library System to kick off summer reading programs for kids and adults

Mary Ann Gwinn. Courtesy photo

The King County Library System (KCLS) is hoping to boost quality time spent with books this summer through reading programs for both kids and adults.

To kick off the programs, the Kirkland Library, at 308 Kirkland Ave., is hosting two events on June 3.

At 11 a.m., former Seattle Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn, who still contributes to the “Lit Life” column, will share stories about books and authors and discuss a career in reading. She said she’s excited to help the KCLS kick off its adult reading program.

“People in this area in particular are really avid readers and interested in finding good books; it’s a highly literate population,” Gwinn said. “I’m continually amazed at the number of people who show up for author events and readings.”

At 3 p.m., award-winning illustrator and author Toni Yuly, who lives in Seattle, will read from her picture books for children.

“I’m so happy they invited me,” said Yuly, who worked in the KCLS for more than 30 years. “It’s a chance for families to get involved with a local author. It makes a big impression on kids to get a chance to talk with a real author-illustrator.”

As part of Yuly’s appearance, the library is organizing a drama workshop for kids based on Yuly’s book “Early Bird.”

“The children’s librarians are making huge productions to get the kids involved,” Yuly said. “I think it will be fun.”

Kids will also have a chance to use some percussion instruments when Yuly reads from “Night Owl.”

Yuly’s books will be available to purchase after the event, courtesy of BookTree.

On top of these events, Patricia Ferrell, Kirkland’s children’s librarian, said there will be a variety of kid-friendly events throughout the summer, including a visit from a juggler on June 24 and a science workshop on July 17.

“We have lots of fun, free programs throughout the summer,” she said, adding that library staff will be visiting local schools in the next month or so to spread the word about the summer reading program.

The KCLS is also hosting an event at 7:30 p.m. on June 21 at the Kirkland Performance Center (350 Kirkland Ave.) called “Hearing the Unheard: Finding the Voice in ‘Caleb’s Crossing.’”

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks will discuss her 2011 bestselling novel and how she got into the world of Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, a Wampanoag Indian who graduated from Harvard University in 1665.

The programs

The children’s summer reading program starts June 1 and participants are challenged to read for 1,000 minutes through Aug. 31. Librarians will start collecting documentation July 1, and those who hit 1,000 minutes will get a backpack. All kids who hit 500 minutes will get a pair of tickets to a Seattle Storm game.

“The summer reading program happens at all 48 of our branches,” Ferrell said.

The adult program, which is also system-wide, is meant to last beyond the summer and involves participants picking out 10 books they want to try and documenting their progress either on a paper sheet or online. Those who are successful can enter a drawing for a pair of tickets to the 2018 Literary Lions event.

“We’re pretty excited about (having an adult program),” Ferrell said. “We’ll have lots of (book) suggestions.”

For more information about the programs and events, visit

Toni Yuly. Courtesy photo

“Early Bird” by Toni Yuly. Courtesy photo

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