Family Time: The Playlist’s the thing this summer at the library

July 13, 2017 GMT

All summer long there’s something for family members of all ages to read or do at the Rochester Public Library — starting with the library’s annual summer reading program, Summer Playlist.

“We changed up our summer reading program this year to make it inclusive of all of the things the library is about,” said Heather Acerro, head of Youth Services at the library. “Yes, we’re encouraging participants to read, but we’re also encouraging them to do things in the community, connect with other people, try new things. We’re encouraging people to think about what they want to do with their time this summer, how they want to grow this summer — and then do it.”


Open to family members of all ages, infant through adult, Summer Playlist log sheets are available at the library or online. Kids and adults record the number of hours they read and do on the left of the log — color in one sailboat, lemonade, or strawberry per 15, 30 or 60 minutes of reading or per activity completed — and on the right list the fun stuff they’ve tried and done, such as visit the RPL BookBike, find a mini-library near your house, or try a new recipe.

“This is the first year we’ve included adults in our summer program — and we’ve had a huge response,” Acerro said. “We’ve handed out 10,000 Summer Playlist logs, 1,200 to adults.”

When complete, participants are encouraged to turn their Summer Playlist in to the library for a free book bag and book, and for the chance to win a raffle prize.

“The raffle prizes are really a lot of fun,” Acerro said. “We have things like a fossil party at Quarry Hill Nature Center, rock climbing passes at Roca Climbing & Fitness and a visit to your house or school by the Rochester Public Library’s bookmobile.”

If you go:

What: Rochester Public Library’s Summer Playlist

Where: Rochester Public Library, 101 Second St. SE

When: 1:30 p.m. Sept. 2 is the deadline to turn in Summer Playlist logs and enter raffles

Phone: 507-328-2303

On the web: www.rochesterpubliclibrary.org

More stuff to do at RPL

• According to Acerro, there is a basic formula for family programming this summer at RPL: There’s always something Tuesday nights (Cuentos y Canciones, Rainbow Family Meet Up), Wednesdays at 10 a.m. is Summer Fun at the Library! (Bubble Bonanza, Mixed Nuts, Magic and Marionettes by Jim Jayes), Thursdays it’s Family Storytime or Family Dance Party.


• RPL also offers family programming outside of the library walls, including Super Hero Training Academy at Gage East (July 19), Raptors with Eagle Bluff at Byron Primary School (July 26) and Rocket Games at Riverside (Aug. 2).

• Find information on all of the library’s programming on the Calendar of Events. Activities are color coded: light orange is geared toward preschoolers, orange items toward families, dark orange is for tweens and yellow is for teens.


Family calendar

How things used to be

Take a trip back to the good ol’ days at the History Center of Olmsted County’s Living History Fair, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The History Center is at 1195 West Circle Drive SW. Family members of all ages will enjoy taking a class in the 1860s one-room schoolhouse, watching a vintage base ball game, and experiencing log cabin living. Admission wristbands are available at the gate for $8, kids 12 and under are free. Call 507-282-9447 for more information.

What else? The History Center offers History Hayrides Thursdays, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. through Aug. 10. The 90-minute guided tour includes stops at the History Center’s 1850s George Stoppel farmstead, the 1862 William Dee log cabin, the 1883 Hadley Valley schoolhouse, and more. Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for ages 15 and younger and HCOC members. Visit www.olmstedhistory.com for details.

Movie night

See a fun flick for free at Movies in the Park, starting at about 9 p.m. Saturday in downtown’s Central Park. Presented by Premier Banks, the movie this week is “Cool Runnings.” Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Call 507-216-9882 with questions.

What’s next? There are two more shows to be seen during this season’s Movies in the Park: “The Secret Life of Pets” (Aug. 5) and “Rogue One” (Aug. 19). Go to www.downtownrochestermn.com to find out more.

Lightning bugs? Glow worms?

Light up your family’s night at Chester Woods’ Fireflies Program, 8:45 p.m. Saturday. Families will meet in the park’s Kisrow classroom to learn more about Minnesota-native fireflies. (Did you know they are really beetles, not flies?) Then it’s time to head out with zoo staff to try to catch a few. The program is free with a park pass, $5 per day, $25 for the year. Call 507-287-2624 for more information.

What’s else? Chester Woods offers free-with-a-park pass programming many weekends during the summer. Up next is the Reptiles Program, 7 p.m. July 29. Go to www.co.olmsted.mn.us for more information.

Catch one

Oxbow Park’s Zollman Zoo is hosting a Butterfly Hike, 11 a.m. Saturday. Families will meet in the zoo’s nature center to learn more about the life cycle, habitats and diets of Minnesota-native butterflies and then head out with zoo staff to try to catch some. Free admission to the zoo and the program (donations welcome). Bug nets provided. Call 507-775-2451 for details.

What’s next? Oxbow Park holds free, family-friendly programming most weekends, year round. Up next it’s Popsicle Enrichment, 1 p.m. July 29. Visit www.co.olmsted.mn.us to find out more.