Design yourself a great summer at the Rock Island Library’s Build a Better Summer kickoff carnival on Saturday, June 10. The library’s annual Summer Reading kickoff takes place in the parking lot of the Rock Island Library downtown, 401 19th Street, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Scheduled events at the free kickoff include a drill team performance by Metro Youth at 11 am, a homemade rocket launch for kids at 11:45 am, and a Mentos™ cola fountain blast at 12:30 pm. Free hot dogs and water will served. The wide variety of activities for all ages also include opportunities to:

  • Register for summer reading challenges for all ages and families, pick up your registration prize and a complimentary building block stress reliever, while supplies last. Participants can take home a paper log, or sign up for the new online summer reading program.
  • Enjoy games at the Parks Department table, play over-sized board games and mini-golf in the Children’s Department, bounce in the Batman house, try some salad spinner or squirt gun art, get your face painted, and take home a balloon figure.
  • Meet and greet Rock Island Police and Fire Department officers, see and touch real emergency vehicles, and learn about what they do for the community.

All events are free and open to the public. Most activities will move inside the library in event of rain. Kickoff activities and hot dogs are sponsored by a grant from Modern Woodmen of America. The Summer Reading program is funded by the library budget with additional support from the Rock Island Public Library Foundation.

Reading by Design summer reading challenges for children, teens, adults, and families run from Saturday, June 10 to July 15, 2017. The library’s reading incentives and more than 70 free events will help children, teens and adults create, learn, read, and experiment with science, math, and engineering over the summer. Research from Dominican University finds that children who participate in Summer Reading programs and read just six books over the summer score higher in reading and math when they return to school.

The library is again extending its summer reading program to 500 children at Spring Forward Learning Center and Martin Luther King Community Center summer enrichment camps. Thanks to funding from the Rock Island Art Guild, the library is bringing the “House that Jack Built” art instruction and literacy program to five Spring Forward enrichment camps. Instructor Gloria Burlingame will lead students through building and decorating house boxes based on This is the House That Jack Built by Caldecott Medal winning author and illustrator Simms Taback.

Rock Island Library reading and activity programs aim to prevent the “summer slide,” the term for learning losses that can occur while children and teens are out of school. More than 110 years of research shows that students who don’t read and learn over the summer score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. (National Summer Learning Association.)

For more information about Rock Island Library services and programs, visit the library’s online branch at,  call 309-732-READ, or follow the library on Facebook or Twitter.


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.