By Audrey Spencer
Harker Heights Herald
With many libraries focusing on encouraging children to read during the summer, adults have just as much to gain from sticking their noses into books.
Local libraries are more than willing to help grown-ups get started or get back into reading, some offering programs and others offering a slew of suggestions.
Harker Heights Public Library is hosting a "just for fun" contest pitting children against adults and teens to see which team can read or listen to the most books, said Lisa Youngblood, library director.
"We have the Get a Clue READ Summer Reading Club for adults as well as teens and kids," said Youngblood. "Adults who join the club enjoy reading on their own. As an added bonus, they model reading appreciation for the teens and children who are also in the club."
Adults may sign up at the library or on the library's website, ci.harker-heights.tx.us/library.
The library also offers programs aimed toward its adult readers, such as a one-man Edgar Allen Poe performance by Broadway veteran Duffy Hudson beginning at 7 p.m. Aug. 3, an afternoon of Edgar Allen Poe movies set for Aug. 4 and Moonlight Yoga events at 9 p.m. today and Aug. 4.
Readers who are looking to get into the e-book scene, but are unsure of how to approach the technology, can also attend training sessions, available by appointment at the library.
Adults looking to read more on their own may also consider looking up a reading list to tackle.
A page of the Harker Heights Public Library's website under the AdultSpace tab (under
"Reference and Readers Advisory") links to different book clubs, reading lists and websites for adults looking for their next read.
Youngblood also suggested the American Library Association's website for lists and book suggestions.
Deanna Frazee, director of library services in Killeen, suggests www.goodreads.com, a community website where users can look up books based on their interests, get suggestions for new reads based on titles they've enjoyed in the past and read reviews of books they're considering checking out.
"It's a vacation you don't have to pay for," said Frazee about reading. "You're always expanding your horizons. It's relaxing and it does enrich you."
Frazee also encourages busy adults to consider audiobooks.
"An audiobook is a great way to pass the time," she said. "I've had young mothers say they put the baby down for a nap and listen to an audio book as they're cleaning the house."
Harker Heights, Killeen, Copperas Cove and Lampasas public libraries all have audio and downloadable book services available for patrons to use.
"You can download audiobooks, which are wonderful when you want to listen to something on a long drive," said Frazee.
For readers who prefer to discuss books and get their title recommendations through the grapevine, library staff members are also a good resource, said Frazee.
"Our staff, and Harker Heights and Cove staff, we all love these books and the authors," she said. "I'm willing to bet you can tell any staff about a book you liked and they'll say 'have you tried...?'"
For parents, reading for recreation also provides a model for children to follow.
Numerous studies, such as those performed by the New York State Library, conclude that children who don't read during the summer have a harder time getting back up to speed once school starts again.
"You can't say 'you need to read' and never have them see you read," said Frazee. "If children read through the summer, they don't lose as much of what they learned in the past school year. If they see their parents modeling that, it just becomes an accepted part of the routine."
Contact Audrey Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.
Pick up a good book
To jump-start a reading venture, check out these websites for reading lists, book suggestions and more:
www.txla.org/lariat — The Lariat Reading List includes 25 fiction titles for grown-up readers.
www.goodreads.com — An online community where you can enter your interests and get personalized book suggestions, as well as leave reviews for books you enjoyed or didn't.
http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet23 — The American Library Association list of links to various lists and titles for readers of all ages.