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Published: Wednesday, 6/27/2007

Summer readers will be on the case Libraries encouraging young sleuths to mix fun with learning

BY BENJAMIN
ALEXANDER-BLOCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Ben Miller, 6, finds the shoe that made the footprints while searching for clues to solve a mystery during the Library detective Bureau reading program. Ben Miller, 6, finds the shoe that made the footprints while searching for clues to solve a mystery during the Library detective Bureau reading program.
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Monroe County children and teenagers are being encouraged to get a clue this summer.

That's the theme libraries throughout the country are embracing through August.

Presentations, posters, book lists, competitions, and craft activities will focus on sleuths and private eyes.

Children's librarian Stephanie Rubley reads a mystery to children before they begin their search for clues during the Library Detective Bureau program at the Ida Branch Library. Children's librarian Stephanie Rubley reads a mystery to children before they begin their search for clues during the Library Detective Bureau program at the Ida Branch Library.
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Many youngsters have signed up for the Library Detective Bureau.

The Ellis Reference and Information Center - or the "Ellis station house" - is holding a six-week course for detectives in training, complete with an "official" badge and casebook.

"We work to encourage children to read a variety of genres every summer so that they can learn to adopt reading as a leisure activity for their futures," said Mary Cameron, president of the Collaborative Summer Library Program.

Forty-three states participate in the collaborative.

Next year's theme is going to be on bugs.

"Catch the reading bug" and "metamorphosize at the library" are likely slogans.

In the summer of 2009, the focus will be on the fine arts - be creative at your library, express yourself.

"People from all of these states work together and then decide a theme each summer, and come up with a handbook for ideas, and then send them out to local branches," said Nancy Rice, a youth services technician for the Monroe County Library System. "Each library is free to use that theme or do something different."

"We usually go with the theme that they provide, because they are a lot of fun," she said.

Ms. Rice said the goal is to show children that reading is something pleasurable, not just something to do at school.

Ms. Cameron said the detective-themed summer program just happened to fall during the Nancy Drew film's release, but library officials didn't miss a beat and quickly jumped on the bandwagon.

Connecting books with films is an "elementary" - to steal a phrase from my dear Watson - way to bring a little summertime fun into the mix.

Last week, Monroe's City Council approved a request from the Downtown Monroe Business Network to hold a Harry Potter festival at St. Mary's Park on July 14 - the day after the last book in the famous series is released.

And 7 p.m. tomorrow, the Carleton Branch Library will begin a Harry Potter film series.



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