Dallas Library Encourages Reading With Free ‘SMART' Program

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The Dallas Public Library wants families to get "SMART" this summer and they are doing it with their annual SMART Summers with Mayor Eric Johnson program through Aug. 14.

SMART is an acronym for Science Math Art Reading and Technology because the library says summer learning isn’t just about reading, but many different disciplines kids can get into.

Jo Giudice, the director of libraries in the city of Dallas, says there is an increase in families coming back to the library. But right now, online programming is still possible.

“Really, our purpose is to instill a love of reading because we are the library. That’s what we do. We want to encourage children to read throughout the summer, so they don’t lose that learning from this year,” Giudice said.

Helping them find that joy of reading starts with understanding what they like.

“There aren’t kids that are bad readers. They just haven’t found the book they have loved yet. They haven’t found something that’s going to spark that passion and get them engrossed in a story that’s going to transport them. That’s what we aim to do is to connect them to that magic book,” Giudice said.

There is something for everyone, including online programming.

“Our programs online are vibrant, and we have had a lot of positive feedback. Parents are really enjoying doing them with their kids and to supplement that we have kits. The programs you may have come to the library to do [before the pandemic] you can get in a kit to take home and enjoy,” Giudice said.

It’s a free program that’s a continuation of the summer reading program the library has hosted for the last 40 years.

“The goal for the kids is to read 20 minutes a day. You don’t have to record how many books or the date they were read, it's about the time. After you do that for 10 days, you come to the library and get to pick out your own book,” Giudice said.

Online programming and limited library hours are available all summer long with the SMART summer reading program ending on Aug. 18.

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