The Rock Island Library continues its summer of space with a view of the stars at the John Deere Planetarium at Augustana College on June 17.

Rock Island Library is  hosting a free presentation by Dr. Lee Carkner, director of the John Deere Planetarium, at 10:00 am on Monday, June 17 at the planetarium on the Augustana College grounds. The free Universe of Stars presentation features a guided tour of the night sky on the planetarium’s new digital projection system. It is best suited for ages adult through 3rd grades.

Both the planetarium and Apollo 11 moon landing are observing their 50th anniversaries this year. Presenter Lee Carkner received his B.S. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1992 and completed his PhD in Astrophysics at Penn State University in 1998.  His thesis explored the topic of X-ray emission from very young, sun-like stars.  Dr. Carkner joined the faculty at Augustana in 1999 and is currently Professor of Physics and Astronomy and director of the John Deere Planetarium.  As director, he gives planetarium shows to thousands of public school students and members of the general public each year.

Registration is required. To sign up, visit the library website at or call. Participants are responsible for arranging their own transportation to Augustana College.

In addition to more than 90 events this summer, Rock Island Library offers free RockTown Summer Reading Challenges for all ages from June 1 to July 31. By encouraging children, teens, and adults to read for fun, learning and prizes, the Summer Reading Challenge helps avoid summer learning loss, keeping skills sharp and minds engaged. Mission goals by age include:

  • Children, preschool to sixth grades: Tracking 24 books or 6 hours of reading time. with prize levels every 8 books or 2 hours. Reading aloud counts!
  • Teens, ages 12 to 18: Reading up to 1,000 minutes, with prize levels at every 250 minutes of reading;
  • Adults, 19 and up: Reading up to seven books over the summer, with prizes at 4 and 7 books.

Registration for the free summer reading challenge is ongoing, with all challenges concluding on July 31. Reading participation is not required to attend library events.

Summer reading participants may also earn points for the items they check out when they register for the library’s free My Library Rewards incentive program. The new service awards points for checking out items at a Rock Island Library. For more details, visit

For more events in the library’s Universe of Stories programming, visit the library website at, call 309-732-READ or follow the Rock Island Library on social media.

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.