• 81°

Start your summer with Port Arthur library’s reading challenge. Win prizes.

Alyssa Zamora, 8, is a regular at the Port Arthur Public Library.

She’s there often and loves books about animals.

So it was no surprise to find her at the facility on the first day of the Summer Reading Challenge.

“I’ve already read all my books that I have now,” she said.

This year’s theme, Tails and Tales, is perfect for the animal lover, who was at the library with other members of her family.

Together they watched a presentation from Brittany Delagarza with the Museum of the Gulf Coast and constructed dream catchers before heading off to pick up books.

“The whole thing this morning was to start the summer off with big dreams,” Children’s Librarian Carolyn Thibodeax said Tuesday as she worked on a dream catcher with Jay Hernandez, 10, and Noeli Rodriguez, 12. Across from them, Alyssa and her mom, Araceli Zamora, made dream catchers.

From left: Jay Hernanez, 10, Port Arthur Public Library Children’s Librarian Carolyn Thibodeaux, and Noeli Rodriguez, 12, make dream catchers on the first day of the Summer Reading Challenge. (Monique Batson/The News)

It was a welcome site to a library that has suffered from back-to-back disasters.

In March 2019, the 9th Avenue facility reopened after being closed due to Hurricane Harvey damage.

It would be open less than a year before COVID-19 forced more closures.

And while last year the library hosted virtual reading programs, having hands-on learning opportunities — and fun activities — for young readers has been long missed by staff.

Week One of the Summer Reading Challenge started Tuesday, but readers up to age 17 can begin at anytime.

On June 12, Julian Franklin will be in attendance to start the Summer Reading Challenge Kick-Off with magic tricks, puppets and more.

“He’s amazing,” Carolyn said of the presentation that will begin at 11 a.m.

Additional activities include:

  • Young Audiences Arts for Learning of Southeast Texas, Tuesday, June 15, 10 a.m.
  • Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Tuesday, June 22, 10 a.m.
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife, Tuesday, June 29, 10 a.m.
  • Celebrity readers July 6, July 13, and July 20 at 10 a.m.

All activities are free to attend regardless of participation in the Summer Reading Challenge. However, those who chose to can register at the front desk and begin the five-week reading event.

Library cards are free for Port Arthur residents, but they do offer out-of-area cards for those that live elsewhere.

Challenge participants are asked to read at least 20 minutes each day, record their books in a reading journal, and add a summary of their favorite book each week.

Journals are due July 27.

In their 30th year of sponsoring, the Port Arthur Sertoma club has provided funds for weekly incentives.

The Port Arthur Public Library is located at 4615 9th Avenue in front of the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.

For questions, call 409-985-8838, ext. 10215.

Find your fun

Mid County libraries are also offering summer reading programs.

Public libraries in Nederland and Groves are offering the Tails and Tales program, while the theme in Port Neches is “Travel with Us.”

For more information, call the Marion and Ed Hughes Public Library in Nederland at 409-722-1255, the Hebert Public Library in Port Neches at 409-722-4554 and the Groves Public Library at 409-962-6281.