Blast off with Summer Learning at the library

The name is a little different, but the idea is the same, with local libraries of the Pioneer Library System providing a wealth of activities in the summer months as part of the annual Summer Learning Program.

It’s a slight departure from the longtime name “Summer Reading Program,” because even with reading being a central focus of everything the library is about, there is much more to the library’s summer activities than just reading.

Participants in the Summer Learning Challenge can earn “points” not just for reading but also attending programs, taking part in STEM-related activities, checking out literacy kits and more. Signups now are under way for the Summer Learning Challenge. Library lovers of all ages are invited to get their signup process started by going online to pioneer.beanstack.org.

The theme for this summer in libraries is “A Universe of Stories,” with programs taking on space themes, science and technology focuses and more. As always, there will be a variety of activities and performers offered for all ages beginning in late May and early June, including:

Science Museum Oklahoma presents its usual array of summer activities, including a rocket-launching workshop for teens and adults, a Little Astronomers Academy for younger children and a “Guardians of the Galaxy” themed event for children ages 7 to 12.

Craft fans can learn from the experts from Coffee N Crafts of Shawnee and “Shoot for the Moon” in a do-it-yourself art project for either teens or adults.

And a favorite in libraries in past summers seeking to present an “Out of this World” experience is Extreme Animals, with its caretakers bringing exotic and domestic animals to the library audience for an educational experience geared to children.

Check each library’s calendar for exact dates, times and signup information for each program.

Sponsors for this year’s Summer Learning Program are the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, Friends of the Library groups, Hitachi Computer Products of America (Inc.), Institute of Museums and Library Services, Oklahoma College Savings Plan, Pioneer Library System, Pioneer Library System Foundation, Sonic, Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Oklahoman Newspapers in Education.

Find out more about any of the library’s services by going online to www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org

or through the Pioneer Library System Connect App, available for iPhone and Apple users at the App Store or for Android users via Google Play.

Sugar Free Allstars set to launch summer with concert

The Shawnee Public Library is getting summer off to a rocking start with a concert presented by the Sugar Free Allstars, part of the library’s Summer Learning Kickoff, at 7 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Celebration of Life Park, across the street to the south of the library.

The concert is part of the Safe Events for families (SEFF) Downtown Block Party, a regular downtown event hosted on the third Friday of the month. And it’s a chance to get signed up for this year’s Summer Learning Program and learn about all the activities the library will offer this summer.

The Sugar Free Allstars have made family-friendly music fun and have kept bowties being cool for nearly 20 years. They’ve also become regular visitors to the Pioneer Library System during summer activities. In 2011, the duo had a song included on an anti-bullying compilation titled “All About Bullies Big and Small,” which won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album. They also have been listed by Time Magazine as one of the top 12 family music acts in the United States.

In addition to the concert, the SEFF Block Party includes food trucks, craft vendors and other musical acts. All ages are invited to attend, and no advance registration is required.

For more information, visit the library, call 275-6353 or go online to www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org/shawnee.