Learn about music, art, magic, astronomy, volunteer projects, and more during the Houston Public Library’s special Summer Reading events this summer, as we “Build A Better World” together! All events take place in the library or outside in the library’s greenspace, unless otherwise indicated.  In case of inclement weather, some outside events will take place over at the Houston Community Center. Give us a call at 896-READ when in doubt.  And one last thing: please bring an item for the Houston Community Food Shelf if you attend one of our free events.  Let’s make our own community a better place while we’re having fun!

Monday, June 19th from 7 to 8 pmLITTLE FREE LIBRARY LAUNCH PARTY!  Thanks to a SELCO grant from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, we’re installing five Little Free Libraries right here in the city of Houston. Come help us celebrate with the artists who decorated them —  and a little cake, balloon-making with Kevin Lindh, and some chalk art on the side.  Take a book or make the world a better place by bringing and leaving a book!

Monday, June 26th from 7 to 8 pm: EVERETT SMITHSON BAND!  This one hour musical celebration will feature Zydeco, Blues, Hillbilly Hoedowns, and more. In addition, Everett believes in the importance of keeping the blues alive— and will do so by teaching up to 50 kids how to play the harmonica at the end of his performance in a special 30 minute class! Kids get to keep the harmonica, too!

Monday, July 3rd from 7 to 8 pm:  RECYCLED ART!  Let’s see how you can turn a bag full of recyclable objects into art! In the spirit of encouraging kids to make the world a better place by reducing, reusing, and recycling, we’ll be giving each participant a bag of mystery ingredients with which to create a work of art and just 30 minutes in which to do it.  Join in on the fun!

Monday, July 10th from 7 to 8 pm:   BOOK ART WITH PAM O’HARA!Come and learn some clever ways of making books using simple supplies! Pam will have everything assembled for you to make your own books using a little origami, some folding and gluing, and some sewing. We’ll use pretty paper, office supplies, stickers, and canceled stamps.  You’ll go home with about 5 completed small book projects  — and the inspiration and skills it takes to make many more.  Recommended for kids going into 2nd grade and up!

Monday, July 17th from 2 to 3 pm: DRAWING CLASS WITH GARY HARBO at the Community Center!  To build a better world in a physical sense requires machines that are designed to do powerful jobs, such as bulldozers to build roads, semi-trucks to haul products to market, tractors to plant and harvest crops, airplanes and trains to move people, as well as cranes to build schools, city buildings, and skyscrapers. In this one hour art lesson, Gary will teach students how to draw machines that have been invented to make a better world for all of us.  Recommended for kids going into 2nd grade and up!

Monday, July 24th from 7 to 8 pm: MAGIC SHOW WITH GREG THE GREAT!  Let’s explore the amazing world of magic together as Greg the Great levitates, causes members of the audience to float, cuts his assistant in half, and makes animals appear, disappear, reappear, and even transform! This family-friendly show features Greg’s blend of comedy and magic with lots of audience interaction.

Monday, August 7th from 2 to 3 pm: STARLAB PLANETARIUM at the elementary school gym!Ever wonder about that mysterious big world up above us in the sky? Join us for an exciting STARLAB program, featuring an inflatable planetarium that showcase 3,000 stars of different colors and sizes, as well as the constellations. Space is limited to 60 people so don’t be late!

Monday, August 14th from 7 to 8 pm:  PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER SLIDESHOW!  What’s it like to live and work as a Peace Corp volunteer in a very different part of the world? Find out as former Peace Corps Volunteers share slideshows and stories about their life-changing years of service.

Monday, August 21st from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm:  CELESTIAL EVENT/SOLAR ECLIPSE PARTY!  On August 21st, the shadow of the moon will sweep across the sun and the USA in a spectacle that hasn’t occurred in 99 years!  In celebration of the solar eclipse, we’ll be hosting a “viewing party” complete with 200 pairs of official viewing glasses, thanks to Eclipse Education Kits provided by  STAR_Net’s NASA@ My Library Initiative. Come join us in the library greenspace, weather permitting! Bring your own blanket, pillow, or chair to make your viewing experience more comfortable!

Saturday, August 26th from 10 to 11 am:  STORYTIME WITH THE APOLLO MUSIC FESTIVAL We host storytime at the library every Saturday morning from 10-11 am all year round, but we only have professional musicians and their instruments as our guests once a year — when the Apollo Music Festival is in town!  Stop by for an informal and fun way to introduce your kids to the world of classical music.  You’ll be glad you did!

This year’s Summer Reading Program is sponsored by the Friends of the Houston Public Library, a grant from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, HARC, SELCO Legacy grants, the Apollo Music Festival, Sub-Zero Pizza and Ice Cream, memorials in honor of Teresa & Banjo Erickson and Illa Sweet, and a generous donation from Jayne & Jim Gilmer.