District's libraries to be open all summer for student reading, learning
CHAMPAIGN — Students will have more opportunities to curl up with a good book this summer, as several Champaign school district libraries will be open to them.
At the libraries, students can check out books and participate in reading and learning activities.
Summer library hours are scheduled from June 10 until Aug. 2, with different schools being open different days.
Garden Hills Elementary will be open from 9 to 11 a.m. Mondays, Carrie Busey Elementary in Savoy will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, South Side Elementary will be open noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Stratton Leadership and Microsociety Magnet School will be open from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursdays and Dr. Howard Elementary will be open from 9 to 11 a.m. Fridays.
Jefferson Middle School will be open from noon to 2 p.m. Mondays, and Centennial High School will be open from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays.
Elementary students enrolled in the school district can go to any open Champaign elementary school. Champaign middle school students can go to Jefferson, and Champaign high school students can go to Centennial. Children ages 8 and younger must be accompanied by an older person or parent.
Cynthia Helms, the librarian at Centennial, said having school libraries open in the summer helps students to maintain what they've learned during summer months. It also keeps the libraries' "rich resources" from idling all summer.
"We felt it was the right thing to do," Helms said.
Helms and Kenwood Elementary librarian Todd Lash studied the topic of summer library use for a group Superintendent Judy Wiegand put together, Helms said.
They looked at a map to find diverse geographical locations throughout Champaign and ruled out schools that have balanced calendars or that will be under construction this summer. The hope is that students will be able to walk to the school libraries, regardless of where they attend during the school year.
It's also logical to open Centennial's library during the summer, Helms said, because it hosts summer school.
Helms said her research also shows that students and their families spending time in school libraries during the summer strengthens the bonds between school and community.
The summer library program is an experiment, for now, Helms said.
"We're really hopeful," she said. "In my view, it's a small investment for a big potential payback in terms of learning."