Librarypalooza, the grand kickoff for the 2015 summer reading program, happens from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Ave., Metairie, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Jane O’Brien Chatelain West Bank Regional Library, 2751 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey.
Summer reading programs began in the 1890s as a way to encourage schoolchildren, particularly those in urban areas and not needed for farm work, to read during their summer vacation, use the library and develop the habit of reading. Research conducted by the National Center for Educational Statistics found that in 1994, 95 percent of public libraries offered summer reading programs for children.
One of the main goals of the program is to get children into libraries and signed up for library cards.
This year’s themes are “Every Hero Has a Story” for children and “Escape the Ordinary” for teens. All events are free of charge and open to the public.
At the East Bank Regional Library, the Librarypalooza is turning into “Librarypalooza Con,” a mini comic con with activities for the whole family. Scheduled events include:
“10 Reasons Joan of Arc is a Hero”: The Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc presents a talk, a story and a workshop on making armor. 10 a.m.
Manga workshop with artist Samantha Hallenus: Learn the basic techniques to developing Manga characters, including signature facial features and key expressions. 11 a.m.
Storyteller’s Corner with the Adventurers League of G.E.A.R.S.: 11:30 a.m.
Costume contest: with awards for the best hero, best villain, most original hero and best group. 12:30 p.m.
Writing comic books, with Kurt Amacker: Kids learn how to create a comic book script, work with artists and bring creations to life. 1 p.m.
“Steampunk: What and Why?”: This introductory session about steampunk by the Adventurers League of G.E.A.R.S. explains the Victorian roots of the movement, the modern roots as a literary genre and the recent explosion into pop culture. 2 p.m.
Other activities will be running continuously throughout the day. Local gaming shop Go 4 Games will be running World of Tanks, a Flames of War event; Dungeons & Dragons Attack Wing; Dr. Who RPG; and Heroclix, while +1 Gaming will feature Pokemon, a board game demonstration for kids and families, and an action-packed fantasy storytelling game for kids.
Children ages 2 to 12 will have a variety of activities and games as part of the library’s “Super Hero Academy.” These include creating a superhero identity, mask and signal, as well as performing feats of strength, agility and fearlessness.
Members of the Rebel Alliance and the 501st Legion will roam throughout the library in costume and be available for photos at no charge.
For those ages 12 to 18, the library offers more crafts and games. BSI Comics will help teens create Shrinky Dinks and Perler bead crafts, and teens also can make candy sushi and challenge themselves with Minute to Win It games, a pingpong challenge; and a Jell-O eating challenge. Anime will be streamed in the Teen Studio.
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers will serve iced tea and lemonade. Free comic books will be provided by local comic book store BSI Comics while supplies last. A table will be set up with raffle prizes at the entrance to the library. Pelican Publishing is providing copies of “Roopster Roux,” the basketball playing rooster, to participants while supplies last.
The Jane O’Brien Chatelain West Bank Regional Library’s 2015 summer reading kickoff party will be much different from its east bank counterpart. It involves a medieval festival created by the Barony of Axemoor, part of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a nonprofit society dedicated to the preservation of the culture of the Middle Ages. Special demonstrations include sword fighting and archery, and medieval crafts and clothing will be on display. There will be face painting for kids and crafts for children and teens. Raising Cane’s will serve iced tea and lemonade and Kerry’s Kona Ice will have snowballs for sale.
All programs at the library are free of charge and open to the public. For more information about programs at the 15 branches of the Jefferson Parish Library, go to jplibrary.net or friend the library’s Facebook page for daily programming updates.