Catawba County News

Catawba County Library Takes 2020 Summer Learning Online

Catawba County Library Takes 2020 Summer Learning Online

Published: June 08, 2020

The Catawba County Library has launched its annual Summer Learning program, which helps students and families engage with books, ideas, and information while schools are out of session. This year, the theme is ‘Imagine Your Story,’ and it embraces everything from myth and fairy tale to folklore, local history, and family genealogy.

Children, teens, and adults are all invited to imagine their story as they participate in reading challenges this summer. As participants keep track of their reading and activities, they’ll be able to earn incentive prizes and become eligible for grand prize drawings, which include restaurant gift certificates and tickets to attractions like the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Tiger World, the Catawba Science Center, and DEFY Hickory Trampoline Park.

This year, the library has enhanced its Summer Learning program with a fun online portal called Beanstack, where Summer Learning participants can earn badges for logging their reading minutes and completing activities. Beanstack provides an interactive, personalized experience and even offers weekly book recommendations tailored to a reader’s age and preferences. Available on the web and as a cell phone app from the Apple and Google Play stores, this new platform allows participants to engage from home in a whole new way with the addition of challenging activities, including making trips to local parks, writing book reviews, and participating in online library programs.

All ages are encouraged to register now by visiting and clicking on the Summer Learning link. Participants will be able to begin logging their minutes and completing reading challenges beginning June 8.

Children and teens are encouraged to read at least 10 hours during the course of the summer. That’s as simple as reading just 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for a total of 6 weeks. Online badges will be awarded for every 100-minute milestone, and each 200-minute milestone earns participants a prize that can be picked up at their local library.

Children and teens can also earn online badges for completing activities designed to keep them engaged in reading and learning all summer long with low-cost, high-interest prompts to explore nature with a walk in a local park, make plant rubbings, read a biography about their hero, or flex their creativity in building their own obstacle course. Everything can be done from home with instructions and forms that are available online as well as at their local library.

The library is especially excited to present a variety of online summer learning programs through Facebook and Zoom. These include our amazing headline acts for 2020:

  • Donna Washington: Award-winning storyteller Donna Washington is a virtuoso performer who has been bringing stories to life for more than 30 years. She’s been called a ‘walking Disney movie’ and has been told that she’s ‘better than television.’ The library will make her specially-recorded performance available online from 10 am on Monday, June 15 through 10 am on Monday, June 22.
  • Mad Science: The Mad Science folks inspire children through visual and interactive science experiments, sparking lifelong imagination and curiosity. Two sessions are available through Zoom; each one is limited to 30 participants. The first will be offered on Monday, June 22 at 3 pm (register here:, and a second, exactly identical session will be presented on Monday, July 13 at 3 pm (register here: Note: Families with multiple children are asked to register only once per family (not according to individual viewers) to ensure that as many people as possible can enjoy the experiments!
  • Origami Magic: Yasu Ishida performs fascinating shows that combine Japanese theater, storytelling, magic, and music. He'll also teach viewers about traditional paper-folding by making incredible origami creations. Join us Monday, July 27 at 3 pm for a Zoom session – follow us on Facebook and check our online events calendar for registration details!

Adult participants of Summer Learning can also earn online badges as they keep a record of what they read this summer. “Imagine Your Story’ for adults includes 16 reading challenges, such as reading a book published in 2020, enjoying books that are set in places they’d like to visit, sharing recipes, and participating in an online library program. Adults who earn eight online badges will have their name entered into the drawing for grand prizes as well.

Angela Miller, youth services librarian, has coordinated the program, saying, “We’re excited to have the local community imagine their own stories with us and to discover what unites us in cultures and traditions from around the world. This year’s Summer Learning takes a different shape from previous years, given our need to social distance, but we know it will prove just as rewarding, and we hope families will take advantage of the fun challenges and activities while they’re at home!”

For more information about Summer Learning or the Catawba County Library’s resources and services, visit, call 828.465.8665, email, or visit