Read – Play – Win!

Read – Play – Win!

kenton reading art catrowThe Kenton County Public Library  Summer Reading Club for teens, adults and children is in full swing! A whole world of adventure awaits you in books and programs at the Erlanger, Durr and Covington branch libraries. The best part is: you can win prizes just for reading!

Children ages 2-10 can visit any Kenton County Public Library location to pick up a reading log. Once children read, or their parents read them, five books, they can pick up a prize. Once children reach 10 books read or listen to 10 books they earn the annual KCPL summer reading t-shirt. They can also enter a raffle to win more prizes, including the grand prize of a Nintendo 3DS XL. Children’s illustrator and author David Catrow designed the T-shirt art.

For teens in grades 6-12, the library has planned many great programs, like a Summer Lock-In and monthly movie nights. Teens can enter weekly raffle drawings for reading and attending programs as well. For each book , and program attended, teens can complete an entry to win a prize each week. Prizes include iPod touch; Kindle Fire HD, Amazon gift card, Visa gift card, Game Stop gift card, and restaurant gift cards. The grand prize is a Chromebook.

Adults will receive a raffle ticket for every book read or program attended as well. Weekly drawings for prizes include gift cards to local book stores, and a grand prize of a Nook HD.

pizza winner durrKenton County Public Library’s Summer Reading Club runs through August 31. Visit for more information. Many prizes are made possible thanks to the Friends of the Kenton County Public Library. Snappy Tomato Pizza and Family Friendly Cincinnati are also sponsors of the Kenton County Public Library Summer Reading Club. Watch this cool video about Summer Reading Club.

Here are just a few of the awesome programs you can expect this summer:

Covington Branch – 502 Scott Blvd., Covington

Racing to Read 5K Walk & Run & Summer Reading Kickoff – Saturday, June 8 at 9 a.m. The Library 5K and Summer Reading Club will kickoff together. Proceeds benefit early childhood literacy. Cincinnati Circus balloon artists, face painters and jugglers will be there too!

Bollywood – Thursday, June 20 from 3-6 p.m. for those in grades 6-12 – Journey to India, watch a Bollywood film, create mehndi body art and enjoy Indian food.

Teen After Hours – July 19 from 7-9 p.m. for those in grades 6-12. Hang out after hours and check out the new Young Adult Area!

Craft it, Eat it – Wednesdays in June & July from 2-3. Create crafts you can eat! Children ages 5-12.

src book display

Fun with David Catrow! – All ages. Thursday, July 18 from 2-3 p.m. Meet, listen to, and watch him draw! Children’s author and illustrator and creator of this year’s Summer Reading Club art is looking forward to meeting you.

Dur Branch – 1992 Kenton Lands Road, Independence

Morse Code Jewelry – Monday, June 17 from 6-8 p.m. for those in grades 6-12. Make a necklace that doubles as a secret message. Bring a friend who has never been to the Durr Branch and you will both get a prize!

Christmas in July – Monday, July 29 from 6-8 p.m. for those in grades 6-12. White elephant gift exchange and Christmassy photo booth. All kinds of fun games, activities, crafts and snacks guaranteed to make you forget how hot it is. Craft supplies provided to make the gifts. You do not need to bring anything.

The Music of Zak Morgan – Saturday, June 22 at 11 a.m. for all ages. Grammy nominee Zak Morgan’s unique brand of children’s music delivers songs and poems with wit and charm that inspire and tickle the funny bones of children and adults.

Meet David Catrow! – Thursday, July 18 from 7-8 p.m. for children in K-5 and a parent. Meet, listen to and watch him draw! Children’s author and illustrator and creator of this year’s Summer Reading Club art is looking forward to meeting you.

Erlanger Branch – 401 Kenton Lands Road, Erlanger

Presentation with Author Nick James – Friday, June 7 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, June 8 at 5 p.m. Everyone is invited to join the author of the series “Skyship Academy” as he talks about becoming a writer, his created world of Skyship and answers your questions. Get your books signed, or win a free signed book.

Skyship Tag – Saturday, June 8 at 1 p.m. – Join the author of the “Skyship Academy” series Nick James as he hosts a unique game of capture the flag based on his books. This program is for those in grades 6-12. Registration is preferred, parental permission for this outdoor physical activity is required.

skyship tag

Circus Mojo! – Mondays, June 10 & July 15 at 6:30 p.m. The troupe from Circus Mojo will be here to present a short show and then guide participants in workshops to learn circus skills like juggling and balancing. The show on July 15th is a repeat of June 10. This is for those ages 7-17, and registration is required.

European Vacation Food Series – Tuesday, June 25, Wednesday, July 24 and Wednesday, August 14 at 7 p.m. Take a culinary trip through Europe this summer. Samples will be served. This program is for adults only.

Songwriting for Teens – Mondays, June 10, 17 & 24 and Mondays in July from 4-5 p.m. Join us for an eight-week songwriting workshop sponsored by the Carnegie. Find the perfect title, create lyrics and the structure of the song. This program is for those in grades 6-12. Please register.

Beginning Reader’s Theatre – Tuesday, June 11 at 2 p.m. for those ages 8-12. Learn the basics of Reader’s Theatre by participating in charades and acting out short plays. All props provided.

Meet David Catrow! – Thursday, July 18 at 10 a.m. for children in K-5 and a parent. Meet, listen to and watch him draw! Children’s author and illustrator and creator of this year’s Summer Reading Club art is looking forward to meeting you.

All locationspostcard-ebay

Send us a postcard from your vacation and we’ll display them in the Library.

These are just a few of the dozens of programs being offered at each branch this summer. Please visit our website for additional programs, details and to register (many require registration) or stop by the library and pick up a calendar. Don’t forget to pick up your book log or raffle tickets.

scheper kids SRCAnother great benefit of Summer Reading Club is it helps with the “summer slide.” Many children forget what they have learned over the summer, which then causes teachers to have to reteach during the first month of school. Some children fall so far behind that they can never catch up. Keeping children reading and their brains active helps prevent this. The Library can help with specific programs:

Puppy Tales – Read to a dog at the library! Reading to dogs is proven to improve reading skills. Grades 1-6

Covington Branch Library – Saturday, June 2 from 1-3 p.m.

Erlanger Branch Library – Sundays, June 16 & July 21 from 2-4 p.m.

Reading Buddies – Erlanger Branch Library – June 15 & 29 12-2 p.m. and July 13 & 27 12-2 p.m. – English and non-English readers are welcome to read with a buddy and improve their reading skills.

Storytimes – Storytimes are located at all three branches on various days and times. See the calendar or website for a full listing.

Teen Book Club – Beyond the Book is a book club offered at the Erlanger Branch just for teens. Visit the website for details.

These are just a few of the programs that keep kids reading and the creativity flowing.

Any questions or comments you have can be left here on the blog, or you can call your local branch to find out more! Just go to the KCPL website and look for the contact information on the left side of the page.

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Wild, Wacky Fun at the library this summer!

Looking for a fun way to spend the summer with your children? Look no further! The Kenton County Public Library offers dozens of free programs each week for children of all ages. Beat the summer vacation blues by coming to one of our wacky themed programs!

Whether your kids are into mess-making, puppets, or digging up dinosaur bones, we’ve got you covered! Here’s just a sampling of some of the fun things we have planned for this summer!

Our programs fill up fast, so be sure to reserve your spot well in advance!



No registration required.Trilobite (4)

*Ice Age Mammoths

Thursday, June 20 @ 2:00 PM. Grades Pre-K-2.

Presented by Behringer Crawford Museum.

*Fossils, Fossils & More Fossils!

Tuesday, July 23 @ 2:00 PM. Grades 3-6.

Presented by Behringer Crawford Museum.

*Craft it. Eat it.

Make wacky food and eat it, too!

Wednesdays in June & July @ 2:00 PM. Ages 5-12.


Father & son at Durr’s Food Fight 2012.

Father & son at Durr’s Food Fight 2012.

William E. Durr

Register at 859-962-4032 beginning on June 1.

*Food Fight

Warning: you will get messy!

Registration open now! Saturday, June 15 @2:00 PM. Grades 1-6 & a parent.

*Madcap Puppets: Fantastic Fairy Tales

Watch a wacky puppet show!

Saturday, July 13 @ 11:00 AM. Grades Pre-K-5 & a parent.

*Wipe Out!       

Warning: you will get wet!

Saturday, July 27 @ 1:00 PM. Ages 5-12.


ErlangerRegister at 859-962-4003 one month prior to event.Mask Making 2 (3)

*Mask-Making: Part I & II

Make a mask one week, come back and decorate it the next!

Thursday, June 20 & 27 from 2:00-3:30 PM. Ages 6-12.


Dino-stories, make a dino-craft, and participate in trivia!

Sunday, June 23 @ 2:00 PM. Ages 3-8 & a parent.

*Beginning Puppetry

Learn the basics of putting on a puppet show!

Tuesday, June 25 @ 2:00 PM. Ages 8-12.

Decorated mask made at Erlanger’s Mask-Making in 2012.

*Pirate Party                                                                    

Ahoy mateys! We’ll read pirate stories and make a pirate-themed craft, too!


Friday, June 28 @ 4:00 PM. Ages 3-7.

*It’s a Zoo in Here!

We’ll read wacky stories and make a fun craft!

Friday, July 19 @ 4:00 PM. Ages 3-7.

Want to see more of the programs we offer throughout summer? Visit our website to see what we have going on and to reserve your spot. You can also learn about our great programs by watching this video. Stop in for great reading suggestions too!

What is your favorite thing about summer at the library?


This post was written by Krysta Wilham, Library Associate at the Durr branch.


Booker Buddy Club Celebration

booker buddyAs a child, I could never wait for my birthday. Not because I got a birthday cake or because my parents threw me a party, but because I got a key to open up the castle at the local toy store. It was a magical experience twisting that key and walking into the castle to pick out a free toy for my birthday. At the library, we’ve designed a birthday program just for kids so that they can pick out a special treat for their birthday. We don’t have a castle, but we have a giant dog bone filled with prizes just waiting for birthday boys and girls!

Become a Booker Buddy!

You may be asking “Who is Booker?” Booker is our lovable, furry mascot for the library. Becoming one of his buddies gives you access to fun birthday festivities and a special party each year in April! It’s easy to become a member:

  • Sign up any time! Just stop by the Children’s Desk at any of our locations for an application.

    Treasure Bone

    Treasure Bone

  • Children ages 0-12 are eligible for the club.
  • Children will receive a birthday card during the month of their birthday. They can bring in their card to pick out a cool prize, like a glow-in-the-dark cup!
  • In April, you’ll be invited to our Booker Bash, a special birthday party for our mascot, Booker, and all of his buddies!
  • Check out Visit Booker’s website for coloring sheets and more fun!

Members are invited to join us on April 18 at 7:00 PM at the Durr branch in Independence or April 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Erlanger Branch to celebrate Booker’s birthday! We’ll have a visit from Wild Thing, from Maurice Sendak’s popular book Where the Wild Things Are. There will be plenty of birthday festivities, snacks, and fun. Don’t forget to bring your camera to snap a shot with Booker and Wild Thing! Click here to register.

Booker (2)Not signed up? What are you waiting for?! Give us a call, stop by, or go online to fill out an application today!

And as an added bonus, we have a giveaway for you! We have a Joel the Singing Librarian CD for one lucky winner!






How the Giveaway Works:

You can enter several ways. The more ways you enter, the more chances you have to win. Enter by noon on Monday, March 25. We will randomly choose a winner who will be announced on our Facebook page and emailed.

1. Comment on this post saying why you want the CD (required to enter).

2. Become a fan of the Kenton County Public Library Facebook page and comment here that you did.

3. Share this contest through Twitter, Facebook, email or text and comment here that you did.

4. Follow this blog by hitting follow and comment that you did.

Disclaimer: Joel the Singing Librarian donated the CD to give away to one lucky winner.

The winner must pick the CD up the Covington, Durr, or Erlanger Branch Library. Library employees and those living in their household are not eligibile to win.

This post was written by Krysta Wilham, Library Associate at the William E. Durr branch of KCPL

What is Early Childhood Literacy?

cropped-kcpl-164.jpgWhen I tell people I’m a children’s librarian at the Kenton County Public Library who specializes in early childhood work they usually ask me if I teach babies to read. That is not what we do at the library.  We teach children and their parents how to develop early literacy skills.  Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can read or write. When children have strong early literacy skills they will be ready to learn to read.

To read, the whole brain must be used and it takes a lot of practice to learn. Luckily, it is easy and fun to develop early literacy skills in young children.  Everyday activities like talking, singing, playing and of course, reading, all work together to help your child be ready to learn to read when the time comes.  Here are a few ways to help the children in your life become readers.

  • Talk with them. Not just near them. Make eye-contact and give them time to respond. When your baby or toddler makes any noise in response react positively.
  • Actively play with your children. There is no gadget better than an engaged adult.  Peek-a-boo, pretend play, blocks, trucks, and (my favorite) enjoying the outdoors all help your child develop a wide variety of early literacy skills.
  • Share music with your children. Music can build family bonds while developing several key early literacy skills. Sing, listen to music together, and don’t forget to dance!
  • Read every day. If your child can’t or won’t sit still for a book don’t worry. They can listen while they are moving. My son learned to walk and didn’t sit down for a book until a year later and he had grown into a strong reader.   You also don’t have to read all at once. Little moments count too – waiting in the grocery line, during bath or meal times and waiting rooms are perfect places to use books. Don’t forget, there is always storytime!
  • Show your children our world. Point out the colors, shapes, letters and patterns that surround us. Pretty soon they will be pointing it all out to you!

It’s also important that children have positive early experiences with books. The library is hosting the annual Early Childhood Literacy Fair on April 5, 10:30-1:30 at our Covington Branch and this should be one of those experiences! The fair is funded by the Kenton County Community Early Childhood Council. At the fair you will find a family photo booth so you can remember the day, activities from the Contemporary Arts Center and Cincinnati Museum Center, great information for a variety of agencies and companies and at 1 p.m., a family concert with Zak Morgan.  The first 400 children will receive a free book and there are plenty of other trinkets for children to collect while parents are picking up information. Children under 36 months can complete a developmental screen with their parents for special prizes.

This post was written by Amy Schardein, early childhood literacy librarian. Learn more about Amy and storytimes.


 Note: This post was updated on 3/27/14 to reflect the 2014 Literacy Fair

Birthday Party Planning Made Easy

Birthday Party Planning Made Easy

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Balloons, clowns, magicians, cakes, cupcakes, comedians, bouncy houses, character visits, oh my! Planning a birthday party for your child, whether they are 1, 8, or 16, can be really overwhelming but I’ve got you covered! If I thought I could truly make a living at planning kids’ birthday parties, that’s what I’d be doing. I LOVE it!  And thankfully, the Kenton County Public Library has plenty of resources to help me plan birthday parties for my children.

My children have a very nice birthday party every year. I enjoy throwing themed-parties at my home but we have had parties outside of the house as well. If you are looking to host a party at a location, you should check out Family Friendly Cincinnati’s post on birthday parties but if you are looking to host at home on a budget, read on and check out our cool video!

Welcome to the Oscars

My son had an Oscar party for his 6th birthday. Everyone received an invitation telling them to come as their favorite actor or musician. I found some inexpensive red fabric at a local fabric store to use as the red carpet. As each child entered, I took their photo on the red carpet. Music from my son’s favorite movies played in the background. Hannah Montana, Superheros, Indiana Jones and other celebrities, or a bunch of kids dressed as celebreties, enjoyed the afternoon playing Paparazzi Dance (instead of freeze dance). When the music stopped, the kids fell to the ground to dodge the paparazzi. The movie theater style cake was a huge hit! Instead of doing traditional goody bags, each child received a box of their favorite movie-style theater candy and a bag of popcorn to take home.  I also found small trophies at my local Dollar Tree. My daughter helped make labels like “best dressed,” “funniest” and “most dramatic” to put on the “Oscars.” Each child received one at the party.

Superhero party

My cousin designed the invitation to look like a superhero comic strip for Joey’s 5th birthday. It’s okay if you’re not a professional designer, the kids will still love it. Everyone came as their favorite superhero. I used my son’s super hero action figures to decorate the party area.

Swim Party

My daughter has had a pool party at my parents’ house several years. To make it a little unique one year, we wrote the invitation information on beach balls and dropped one off at each girl’s house. They then brought the ball with them to play with in the pool at the party. We sprinkled brown sugar on blue icing over the cupcakes to make it look like the beach. We then put teddy grams inside of a gummy saver and placed them on the cupcakes so they looked like they were floating. The girls loved them!

A Barbie Tea Party

My 13-year-old daughter still talks about her 5th birthday party that Barbie attended. I found cute garden hats, artificial flowers and ribbon at the local dollar store. Barbie, a friend of mine dressed in an old prom dress and made up with fake eye lashes and glitter makeup, helped each girl decorate a tea party hat. They then had cute sandwiches cut out as flowers and tea pots (just used cookie cutters) with tea (Koolaid). All of the girls were so excited to meet Barbie.

Cake Decorating Party

My daughter loves to bake and decorate cakes. I picked up plenty of supplies at Fantasy and Frosting and baked two 9-inch round cakes for each girl before they arrived. We then ran the party similar to the Next Great Baker. The girls had 90 minutes to decorate their cakes. Once they were finished, we posted each one on Facebook and allowed my friends to vote for an hour. The cake with the most votes won and the baker received a special prize. All of the girls had a blast and I didn’t have to make or buy a cake for the party.

Hunger Games Party

My son chose a Hunger Games theme for his 11th birthday. My daughter and I posted pictures of each of the tributes throughout the house before the guests arrived. Each child received a suctioned cup bow and arrow when they arrived. The boys were giving the challenge to find each of the tributes. I also picked up a Hunger Games themed cake at a pretty good price and enjoyed listening to the boys discuss what they like about the movie and the book.

Perfecting the Ideas

I am very creative but I can’t take credit for all of these awesome ideas. I definitely use magazines, books and online sources to help work out the details. Magazines are a great resource. You can check magazines out from the Library or skim them for ideas while you are there. Real Simple and Family Fun tend to have great food, invitation and game ideas. Family Fun Birthday Cakes, put out by Family Fun Magazine, might be just the book you are looking for. You can also get a free online subscription to certain magazines from the Library. Just click on Zinio, set up your account and choose which magazines you want delivered to your inbox. I tend to find great ideas in Do It Yourself, Family Circle, Parenting Magazine and Martha Stewart Living.

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Parties: How to Be a Great Guest, Be a Happy Hostess, and Have Fun at Any Party by April Lundsten is a great book for your daughter who wants to be involved with the party planning. Naturally fun parties for kids : creating handmade, earth-friendly celebrations for all seasons and occasions by Anni Daulter with Heather Fontenot also has some good ideas. You can find several other books on our Birthday Party Pinterest Board.

Don’t forget to pick up music for the party at the Library or by downloading it for free from our website. You can also borrow movies that would be perfect for a slumber party.

Where do you get your party ideas? Tell us the details of the best party you have ever hosted or attended!

This post was written by Gina Holt, public relations coordinator for the Kenton County Public Library and mother of two. Most of the pictures are from parties Gina has hosted for her children.

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Programs for Building the Brain and Keeping it Sharp

Homebound and Racing to Read Staff

Homebound and Racing to Read Staff

As the Coordinator of Outreach Services at the Kenton County Public Library it is mine and my staffs’ privilege to bring programs and materials to local child care and assisted living facilities throughout Kenton County.  Our programs differ at each facility and are based on the needs of our patrons.If you sat in on a program at a child care facility you would find a story time filled with music, finger plays, puppets, wonderful books that are building the child’s imaginative skills, listening and reading skills, and increasing their phonic awareness. You would also see children interacting with the programmers and developing their social skills.

Homebound brings programs, which assist with keeping the brain sharp through reminiscing type exercises, to assisted living facilities. Some centers choose slide show presentations that take the residents on a trip down memory lane. Other centers opt for more intense brain exercises involving crossword puzzles and answering trivia questions.  Whatever the program might be the main goals are to provide entertainment for our patrons and to help exercise their minds through building new skills or helping them maintain current skills.

Do you know someone who lives in a senior facility? What types of programs do you think they would enjoy? Do we visit your child? Do they like the Racing to Read program?

By Kari Jones, Coordinator of Outreach Services

Call Homebound at 859-962-4062 for more information.

New Year, New Attitude for School


The Library has a lot of resources for homework help. Many of which can be accessed through our website with your Kenton County Public Library card, even from home.

On our home page, under Research and Homework, there are a couple of resources that can help with homework as well as build your students’ confidence level.  First, there is the database page. This page lists all of the databases, or online resources, that our library users have access to, as well as a description of the information you can find in each resource.

There is also a link titled Test Prep. This leads to the Learning Express Library. Here you will sample practice tests for all ages as well as skill building exercises. You can also watch a video on how to use Learning Express. You can also help your child brush up on their foreign language classes with Mango and Little Pim online.

Did you or your student receive an e-reader or tablet over the holidays? If so, we have digital books available for check out from home.  On our homepage, right above the Research and Homework link there is a link called eBooks & eAudio. Overdrive eBooks features a few picture books and many chapter books for children. OneClickDigital is our audio book catalog.  Many students find it helpful to listen to a book while they read it.  Axis360 eBooks is a collection of picture books that you can check out and read on the accompanying app Blio. If you do not have an e-reader, we have Nooks for children, young adults, and adults that are preloaded with books.  Many students today find it fun to read on an electronic device!

It also helps encourage your children to read if they see their parents reading traditional books or on e-readers. Check out our collection of relaxation and meditation CDs or perhaps you would prefer a comedian on CD or DVD. We also offer the service Freegal which allows you to download three free songs per week.Reading together encourages a love for reading.The Library reference staff is also here to help. Stop by any of the three branches and ask the children’s or adult/teen reference staff for help with researching a project, finding certain books or using the online resources. You can even text or email a librarian with a question.

So, make a fresh start this year and help your children make one too. Let the Kenton County Public Library help you with our many services available to cardholders. Happy New Year!


This post was written by Julie Mills, children’s librarian at the Erlanger Branch Library.