MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J.—The Mercer County Library System is a great place for families to spend time this summer and be inspired, thanks to the 2010 New Jersey Statewide summer  reading programs “Make a Splash - READ!” and “Make Waves at Your Library.”

Mercer County Library’s Summer Reading Program is free, convenient and fun.  It encourages children, teens and their families to become library users and lifelong readers.

“Both of this year’s themes encourage children and teens to explore the world of water and water activities with performances, stories, songs, games, contests and other participatory activities as well as through reading,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes.

Registration begins June 21 at all branches throughout the system, and the program runs through Friday, August 6. Fun educational activities are planned from June through early August to foster the love of reading in children and teens. All branches of the library will kick off the six-week program with special events.

The Mercer County Library’s Summer Reading Program has always been extremely popular. More than 5,000 children are expected to participate in 2010 throughout Lawrenceville, West Windsor, Ewing, Hopewell, East Windsor, Hightstown and Robbinsville.

Children up to age 11 are encouraged to visit their branch anytime beginning Monday June 21. They should stop at the registration table to receive a reading log to keep track of the books they read on their own or with an adult. Incentive prizes are awarded on a weekly basis to children who return to the library to report the number of titles or chapters they have completed. Teen volunteers and library staff will assist children in the registration process at each branch and are available to answer questions.

Teens in grades 6 to 12 can also participate by visiting their library anytime beginning June 21.  The registration process for teens varies from branch to branch and includes a wide array of creative programs. Some of these special teen events are: Wii game nights, chess tournaments, book groups, lyric writing, creative drama,  anime, a create your own avatar program, Mehndi Indian hand painting and arts and crafts including duct tape projects, tie-dye, scratch art and jewelry making.

All programs are free to the public and sponsored by the Friends groups at each branch.  Additional sponsorship is received by the New Jersey Statewide Summer Reading Program and various local business and organizations who have donated prizes.

“Research has shown that children will maintain or improve their reading skills if they participate in some kind of summer reading program,” said Mercer County Library Director Ellen Brown. “That’s what makes the Mercer County Library System’s Summer Reading Program so important. The interactive programs offered at the local level stimulate kids mentally, physically and culturally, while fostering a lifelong love of books and reading.”

Mercer County Library System is part of the National Collaborative Summer Reading Program which prepares children for continued success through the development of early language skills and integrates differentiated literacy activities to motivate young adults to read and discuss books.

Visit the library’s website for a complete listing of programs and events. Printed calendars and registration details will be available at each branch in June.