The Jake Epp Public Library in Steinbach is ready to welcome kids for a summer full of reading adventures.  

Steph McLean, Library Program Director says, “We have a jam-packed summer full of activities for all ages. We have an online summer reading tracker program through TD, that registration started last week. We have our in-house library programs as well. We have some drop-in events that are for all ages and families, and then we have some events and activities for grade school kids specifically, that are happening every week, for those events registration is required, but it is free to come and do library activities all summer long.” 

McLean introduces their Library Summer Interns who will be handling a lot of the Summer Programming

“We are very excited to welcome back Emily Tyler and Courtney Penner. This is their second year here at the library, and we have just the best staff. They've got some amazing programs, from creative writing to crafts to arts to puzzles, planned all summer long, and they'll be the ones that you'll see every day here because they're running all of our great programs.” 

McLean says part of the programming will also include Family Movie Nights.  

“So every other Friday, the library will be closed to the public, but we do open up just for movie night. It's a free event. Families are welcome. We ask that kids ages 12 and under are supervised by an adult. All of our features are family-friendly. Sometimes we will have a single feature or double features. We have some great Disney movies and stuff like that. We have popcorn popping and everything for you if you come, so it's a fun family evening out.” 

McLean notes they’ve already been busy with “Story in the Park” happening beside the library at the EA Friesen Park. She explains how this program started.  

“Story in the Park” is something that came out of COVID, when we couldn't have story time inside the library. We started offering it out in the park and it became such a hit and such a staple, it's something we've kept.” 

“This year our amazing interns are back at the library early, so we’ve already started our “Story in the Park” every Wednesday starting at 10 AM and that runs weekly already started all the way through till the end of August.” 

McLean says their Family and Kids Board Game nights have also been quite popular in the past. So, they’ve brought those back as well.  

“Friday mornings this summer we have one that is designed, kind of, for just kids in Grade 4 and up. So, kind of, for an older independent board gamer. They can come with friends. We've got popcorn popping and they can snack while they play some of their board games with buddies. We also have a lot of families that like enjoying our board game nights too. So, families come together, find a board game, play with other families, and connect.” 

She notes their ever-popular Summer Reading Program is back, this year with the theme “Wild about Summer Reading.”  

“You'll see some decorations throughout the library. We've got some fun jungle features going on and some favorite storybook characters who are lost in the jungle, in our front display, but for our summer reading challenge, the one in-house, what we do is, because not everybody enjoys tracking their reading, we kind of have some fun. We encourage kids to read a few books or read a lot of books, it’s up to them. Then every kiddo that reads books can come to the library and get a ballot for every book that they read, they fill out that ballot and rate that book.” 

McLean continues, “They put their name and phone number on there and then they get entered to win a prize. Every ballot enters them to win one of six prizes that we have.” 

They will be giving away several $50 gift cards. “We also have library membership for a whole year for someone who might not be a Steinbach resident. So, for those in kindergarten to grade 12, any book you read this summer, even if you finish just one, that's OK, you can come and get your one ballot and put it in there. If you read 50 books, you can put 50 ballots in, so it just kind of encourages kids to keep reading over summer and maybe win a few cool prizes.” 

When it comes to out-of-town residents requiring a membership to sign books out of the library, McLean says they have a special $20 family membership summer price.  

“It's one membership per household. So, your whole household gets to share it. It is not tied to anything else in the library. So, you don't have to be signed up for the summer reading program, anybody from anywhere can come in, just sign up for their $20 membership and they’ll get access to our library here in Steinbach, as well as our online library through ‘Libby’, which is an app that has a lot of audiobooks and eBooks.” 

McLean says any non-resident with a library membership has access to audiobooks and eBooks until August 31. Then, of course, they are welcome to “top off their membership, just pay the difference for a full year. Non-resident members don’t have to restart a membership.”  

She encourages anyone interested in what the Jake Epp Library has to offer, to check out their website. She notes many clubs are ongoing, like some book clubs, the Lego club, and more.