Children play with plastic animals with tails, from whales to dinosaurs, at a Socorro Public Library summer reading program event Thursday at the youth center. The reading program’s theme was “Tails and Tales.”
Cathy Cook | El Defensor Chieftain

Socorro children have read 9,000 minutes in June as part of the Socorro Public Library summer reading program. They’ve also learned about everything from bumblebees to dinosaurs.

The library could not offer summer programs in 2020, due to the pandemic, but is making up for lost time with two shorter summer programs this year. The first summer reading program ended Friday and the second will start July 6.

Kids in the summer reading program have read 9,000 minutes in the month of June, said Library Director Chelsea Jones. There were 56 children signed up for the June program, said Youth Services Librarian Kathy Spring.


Kids were able to make their own comets with Styrofoam balls, glitter glue and ribbon during a summer reading program event Thursday.
Cathy Cook | El Defensor Chieftain

“We’re so thankful to do it,” said Jones. “It’s been a long year without library programs.”

The program encourages both children and adults to read throughout the year and gives kids fun activities to do in the summer months, said Spring. Kids often have a summer slump, where they stop reading while they are out of school for the summer. The program incentivizes them to keep reading.

June’s program had the theme “Tails and Tales,” so the program emphasized animals, with activities that included a visit with farm animals, a presentation on bees and painting birdhouses for the community garden. The library has been offering crafts on Tuesdays, family yoga on Wednesdays, presentations on Thursdays and themed activities on Fridays, all at the youth center where there is more space for kids to spread out.

Ana Jacobs has three daughters, a 6-year-old, 7-year-old and a 10-year-old. Most years Jacobs’ daughters participate in the library’s summer programs, but this summer’s been a little unusual, so last week was their first week to participate.

“It gives them something easy to do without too long a commitment,” said Jacobs.

Aria Jacobs, age 10, said she likes that there are lots of different activities to do in the summer reading program.


The New Mexico Museum of Natural History provided activities for Thursday’s summer reading program event, including bringing dinosaur toys and fossils.
Cathy Cook | El Defensor Chieftain

“We got to do really cool things and we got to have fun and try our best,” said 7-year-old Lavelle Jacobs.

Karen Hibbert brought her 4-year-old and 2-year-old to play with dinosaurs, learn about fossils and make their own Styrofoam comets at the Socorro Youth Center Thursday. The activities were provided by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History.

“It’s just a good time to get out and do something,” said Hibbert.

Hibbert’s daughter was too focused on applying purple glitter glue to her Styrofoam comet to provide comment for this story, but Hibbert said the hands on activities give young children a chance to explore and find new interests.

She was surprised by how much her son enjoyed a recent library presentation on theater.

The initial sign up for the second summer reading program will be July 6, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the youth center, but participants can sign up any time throughout the month at the library. The theme for the second program will be “Imagine your story.”

The library also returned to regular operating hours July 1, when the state reopened.

Cathy Cook, El Defensor Chieftain