LIVINGSTON — “Libraries Rock” is the theme of this year’s summer programs, and the Livingston Parish Library System is offering a wide array of activities for all ages at its five branches with music related programs at the heart of some of the headline events.

Jeremy Travis, director of public relations for the library system, said while summer programs are directed to library patrons of all ages, much of the emphasis will be on attracting students to the library branches during the summer months. Travis explained that the library is focused on avoiding what is known as the “summer slide.”

“Research has shown that students who are not engaged intellectually during the summer vacation ‘slide back’ from the knowledge they have gained during the previous school year and forget a portion of what they have learned," he said. "By keeping students actively engaged in reading and participation in library programs they can avoid losing what they have previously learned.”

The library system, he said, works diligently to attract patrons to the libraries. “Once an individual comes to the library, then we can show all the things that we have to offer. We want to keep people coming through our doors."

Once again, a major effort will be placed on the summer reading program for adults, children and teens. Registration began May 24 and continues through July 31. All ages can register online or at any of the branches. Children and teens may register at the youth services desk at any of the five branches while adults may register at the circulation or adult reference desks.

The children’s program is open to babies and children up to age 11. The teen program is for youths ages 12 to 18, and the adult program is for those 18 and older. 

Children complete the summer reading program by reading 10 picture books or five chapter books. Books read aloud by parents count, so preschoolers and babies can also participate.

Teens can read three books and/or attend three teen summer reading events to complete the program. Adults must read three books, eBooks or audio books and/or attend three summer reading events to complete the program. Prizes are offered for all who complete their respective program.

Travis said the season opened for the young with presentations by Johnette Downing, an award-winning musician, author and storyteller who presented interactive performances at all of the branches earlier this month.

Next up is Elizabeth Vidos, also known as “Lady Chops.” She is bringing her one-woman drumming show to the libraries later this month. “Lady Chops is a talented percussionist whose past work includes performing in the off-Broadway show 'Stomp.' Her performance is energetic, interactive and fun for all ages,” Travis said.

Lady Chops will perform at 10 a.m. June 27 at the Albany-Springfield Branch and on the same day will perform at the Watson Branch at 2 p.m. On June 28 she will be at the South Branch at 10 a.m. and at 2 p.m. at the Main Branch. Her final performance will be at the Denham Springs-Walker Branch at 10 a.m. June 29. An accompanying program designed for patrons ages 8-18 will teach one how to “bang out your own beats.” This program will be at the Watson, Denham Springs-Walker and the Main branches.

Many more programs are on the summer slate. Those interested in dates, times and locations can obtain a complete schedule of events from all branches of the library system. That information is also available on the internet.

Programs for the young on the summer schedule include: Hey Now Hooping, a circus-style hoop dance performance; Sound of Science, a focus on how sound waves work; Dinosaur Park, featuring dinosaur-related activities; Junior Geologist, lessons on rocks, minerals and crystals; Makey Makey Music Room, an interactive music experience using everyday objects; Harvey Rabbit and Friends, a fun-filled variety show with songs magic, games and more.

For teen library patrons, three main events are planned: Random Fandom: Hamilton; Marvelous Music Trivia, Rock This Craft!; and computer classes. These programs will be offered at all branches later this month and in July.

Library patrons are invited to join the staff for Virtual Wednesdays!. On Wednesdays, at 5 p.m., patrons can experience the virtual world at the Denham Springs-Walker Branch. All ages are invited to explore the virtual world utilizing special equipment acquired by the library.

Special adult programs will include the Murder Mystery Café, which will be offered at all branches. Also on the schedule is the Musical Craft Collage that will be held at the South Branch at 6 p.m. July 19.

Additional programs and services are available throughout the year, and information about what the library has to offer is readily available.

Travis said children and teens still enjoy reading. “They want to learn and will put down their electronic devices and read … even if it’s comic books sometimes," he said. "We are trying to attract everyone, especially the young, to our libraries, and that's why we offer so many different programs. We want the library to be part of everyone’s life, and we want them to come here and read and explore many different things.”