Due to the current restrictions on public gatherings, the Houston Public Library is unable to offer our traditional performance-based and class-based Summer Reading program.  Brainstorming has resulted in an alternative we think you and your family will enjoy throughout the months of June, July, and August:  storywalks around town, online performances by professional entertainers, community scavenger hunts, virtual storytimes, and Summer STEAM Bags, focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math & Music.

For the moment, many of these activities are still in the planning stages. However, our Summer STEAM Bags will first be available for pick-up every week on Wednesday mornings, starting on June 10th, from 11:15 to 11:45 am in the Cross of Christ Lutheran Church parking lot, as the library participates in one of three weekly Meet Up & Eat Up Free Meal distributions for local kids 18 and under. Any “leftover” kits will be placed outside the library next to our curbside pick-up table, for families to access on their own schedules while supplies last.

Each week, in our Summer STEAM Bags, we’ll provide you with a variety of activities based on a new theme, along with most of the materials needed.  Other common school supplies may be required, such as tape, glue, markers, crayons, scissors, etc.  If you do not have these materials, please let us know and we will arrange to get them to you. Our goal is to do our share keeping area kids entertained, educated, and engaged during the upcoming 13 weeks of summer in which many events, programs, and community resources will be cancelled or closed — and to do so in a safe and contact-free manner for the health of both patrons and staff.

Most activities in our STEAM Bags can be successfully done by elementary school students on their own, but some activities (and some kids!) will require supervision. Parents, please make sure you offer help when needed.  Many bags contain small parts that are not suitable for very young children.  As always, the library and the city of Houston cannot be held responsible for the use of these materials.

Take pictures of your kids and their projects so we can share them with our patrons and our community!  Email them to the library at hpublib@gmail.com or send them to us via our Facebook page (Houston MN Public Library).  Every week this summer, we’ll be giving away a $10 Houston Bucks gift certificate to one of our photo entries, chosen at random.  We’ll also be placing a coupon for a free ice cream cone at Sub Zero in ten random bags every week.  Send us a photo of your child and their favorite flavor if you win! In addition, keep an eye on our social media pages for storywalks, community scavenger hunts, etc. this summer.

Remember to keep your kids reading!  To order library materials for curbside pick-up:  call 507-896-7323, email hpublib@gmail.com, send us a private message on Facebook, or order online at www.houston.lib.mn.us.  Pick-up times are M/W/F from 10-2 pm and T/TH from 3-7 pm.  We’ll be happy to do some“personal shopping” here at the library for you and your family if you desire. Don’t currently have a library card?  Give us a call and we’ll set one up by phone.

Finally, our thanks go out to all our sponsors who are making our revised 2020 Summer Reading Program possible:  a Bright Ideas Grant from the Houston Area Community Foundation and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, the Friends of the Library, SELCO Legacy grants through the Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and Sub Zero Pizza and Ice Cream, as well as a partnership with Cross of Christ Church and the Meet Up & Eat Up organization. Special thanks to Friend of the Library, Ann Markegard, for putting endless time and her considerable talents into the creation of these Summer STEAM Bags.

Questions? As always, give us a call at 896-READ!