As local schools prepare to release students for the summer, the branches of the Pulaski County Library system are starting their summer reading programs for children and teens. Summer reading programs begin at the Waynesville, Crocker and Richland libraries June 1. This year's theme for the children's summer reading program is “Dream Big Read.” The theme for the teen's program is “Own the Night.” BJ Pierce, the branch manager at the Richland Library, said the different age groups each have a target number of books to read during the summer. Readers in each age group will receive small incentive prizes as they work toward their goal. Pierce said continuing to read during the time off from school is important for children and teens, and can aid them when they head back to the classroom in the fall. “We're trying to make sure they don't have the summer slide,” he said. “If they continue to read throughout the summer then once they get back into school it's not as hard to get them back into the groove of things.” Erica Ogle, a Waynesville Library clerk and the branch's teen program coordinator, agreed. “I think it's very important to get the teens in,” she said. “Anything to encourage reading. It helps what you learn throughout the school year and helps you retain those skills.” The summer reading program is free of charge. Beginning June 6, special events will be held weekly at the three libraries. The event for children on June 6 is a magic show. The weekly events vary by age group and branch. “We do a lot of crafty stuff,” Ogle said. “We play games … stuff that they're going to love and stuff that will be fun.” “Each branch does it a little differently,” Pierce said. “They (interested parties) can just contact their local branch and everyone can help them.” Ogle said she encourages local families to check out the summer reading programs at the library branch closest to them. “It's something nice to get them to do throughout the summer,” she said. Pulaski County Libraries Richland Branch 111 Camden Street Richland, MO 65556 Phone: 765-3642 HOURS: Tuesday: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Waynesville Branch 306 Historic Route 66 West Waynesville, MO 65583 Phone: 774-2965 HOURS Monday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Crocker Branch 106 South Commercial Street Crocker, MO 65452 Phone: 736-5592 HOURS Tuesday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.