Lorton Library Challenge ‘Takes You Everywhere’

Lorton Library Challenge ‘Takes You Everywhere’

Library integrates STEAM activities with reading program for the summer.

The Lorton Library, established in 1980, boasts of a collection of 50,000 items available for the general public.

The Lorton Library, established in 1980, boasts of a collection of 50,000 items available for the general public. Photo by Jenneth Dyck

— The Lorton Library is halfway through their Summer Reading Adventure, which runs from June 15 to Sept. 1. Children and teens participate in the library’s summer reading program every year to read outside of school and win a coupon book for their efforts.

“I really enjoy working here and working with the kids and the community. It’s great especially in the summertime to connect them with books and activities while they’re out of school,” said Melissa Kariger, youth services manager.


Every summer, children and teens from Lorton participate in the Summer Reading Adventure. After completing a certain number of books, summer reading participants put their name on the columns in the center of the library.

The reading adventure at Lorton is one way the library encourages children to extend their education even during the summer. Any time during the program, children and teens can pick up a reading log at the library or register online and read a specified number of books based on the participant’s age.

Those that complete the program will receive a coupon book. Cosponsored by the Friends of the Lorton Library and other Friend branches, the coupon book includes free and discounted items from McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza, Mt. Vernon, Splash Down Waterpark, Hidden Pond Nature Center, Shadowland Laser Adventures and Six Flags among others.

Children are also encouraged to visit the library for special activities that coincide with the reading program’s theme: “Reading Takes You Everywhere.” Children can get involved with STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) activities that teach them about the world, other cultures and other time periods.

“We do different kinds of science experiments and challenges and that sort of thing so they can work on those skills over the summer while having fun and keeping busy,” said Kariger.

Children have the chance to construct Medieval catapults, jellybean pyramids, covered wagons, launch rockets, erect towers and learn through other educational experiments offered within the library.

Kimberly Rivas, whom Kariger deemed one of the most active teen volunteers, says she loves watching the children come through the library every week. Because of this, deciding to volunteer at the library was not a hard choice.

“This is the first place I thought of,” she said, before describing the time she spends in the library every week as a “warm feeling.”

Yet the Summer Reading Adventure isn’t just for children and teenagers. According to Gloria Cramer, who works at the information desk, adults can participate too.

They need only to read five books to participate in an adult Bingo! challenge and get a coupon for the library’s ongoing book sale. In addition, every adult who finishes the program has a chance to win an Amazon gift card.