Read, Learn, Listen, & Play :: “Build a Better World” During the MCPL Summer Library Program!

Written by Chad Dally

We Wisconsinites know that summer doesn’t last forever; in fact, often it seems to be over before we know it! Spending time outdoors — in the woods, on the water, or in the garden — or simply spending time around the grill with family and friends are a few of the things that make summer so enticing and memorable.

But we here at the Marathon County Public Library (MCPL) know that not every waking moment can be spent outside (there are those pesky ‘skeeters, after all!), so we’ve worked hard over the winter and spring to put together a wide variety of programs built around this year’s nationwide summer library theme: “Build a Better World.” Download a brochure of summer library performers and activities here.


Kids taking part in craft activities at the Marathon City branch of the Marathon County Public Library in August 2016. All nine MCPL locations will have craft activities for kids — and some locations will host adult craft programs, too, as part of the “Build a Better World” summer library program. Photo courtesy of Lisa Haessly, MCPL.

Kids and their parents or caregivers are welcome to see some our favorite performers, like Tom Pease and David Stokes (who’ll be bringing back his assortment of critters — like bugs, snakes, and turtles). Little ones will also have a chance to keep their reading skills sharp or improve their literacy by “paws-ing” to read to well-behaved dogs with the Therapy Dogs of Central Wisconsin, among many other kid- and family-friendly events throughout the summer.

Tom Pease entertained hundreds of kids and adults in 2016 at the Wausau Headquarters. An annual favorite, Pease will be back again this year to perform at several different MCPL locations. Photo courtesy of Dan Richter, MCPL.

Teens will have a chance to make their worlds — and the lives of those around them — a little better through several “Craftivism” programs:

  • Writing anti-bullying Post-it Notes with inspiring phrases that we’ll display at the library
  • Creating felt stars to give to those who make our lives a little brighter
  • Crafting hats and fleece blankets to donate to Project Linus and Knots of Love

Teens also will have a chance to keep their minds sharp and learn more about technology through some computing classes — including a creative computing series just for girls in a setting that helps them feel comfortable speaking up, asking questions, and learning new technology skills.

For some, a better world starts at home…

Personally, digging in the dirt to plant flowers, fruit, and vegetables around our home brings my wife and me a sense of peace and happiness in an aesthetic way (it just looks nice) — not to mention we get to eat the fruits and vegetables of our labor!

To that end, we want to help our library patrons take full advantage of their own efforts to grow their way to a better world, so we’re offering classes on food preservation, such as canning, pickling, and creating jams and jellies. These classes, taking place at various locations, will be led by the incomparable Jackie Carattini, family living agent with Marathon County UW-Extension.

Kids learning about composting during the 2016 StoryWalk at Monk Gardens in Wausau. A mix of literature, nature, and activities, StoryWalk will happen again this year at Monk Gardens on July 15–16, 2017. Photo courtesy of Dan Richter, MCPL

In July, we’ll also be hosting author Stacy Martin, who runs the MooPoo Ranch in Portage County and recently published a book about her approach to small-scale, sustainable agriculture.

And if you or your kids can’t make it to a summer camp (or if you want to relive the experience), another highlight will be our Summer Camp Sundays film series, starting in June with the Bill Murray classic “Meatballs.” (Parents, please be aware: The last film in the series is R-rated.)


Of course, we at the library believe one way to a better world is through READING!

We’re encouraging people of all ages to sign up for our summer reading clubs that go beyond just reading a book. Kids from birth to Grade 5 can not only track their reading throughout the summer, but also perform random acts of kindness — all of which can earn them REWARDS (including a ticket to a Wisconsin Woodchucks game)! Teens can register and receive a BINGO-style card that not only encourages a variety of reading-related activities, but also encourages teens to volunteer their time and perform a number of other actions that could benefit their communities.

While the adult reading program has less of a social action component, we still want adult patrons to step out of their comfort zone when it comes to reading and maybe even learn something — or about someone — to make the world a better place. Our staff would be happy to help with some recommendations for the summer reading program (and during other times, too) through our Personalized Reading Suggestions.

Although we’ve organized a plethora of summer programs to keep things hoppin’ around here, you’re always welcome to simply step in out of the heat and relax in the air-conditioned library for a while. All MCPL locations are designated cooling centers in our communities. So, whether you stop by for a program or class, for a respite from the heat, or to grab a great book for your beach or cabin outing, any time is a great time to stop by the Marathon County Public Library!

Chad Dally - MCPL - Library SpecialistChad Dally

Library Specialist  |  Marathon County Public Library

Chad Dally is a library specialist with the Marathon County Public Library, where he’s worked since 2012. He splits his time at the library between reference and programming, and generally prefers to read nonfiction over fiction. He’s heard chickens are smart, but the small brood he keeps at home provides evidence to the contrary.  Email Chad Dally

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