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The Philomath Community Library kicked off a busy summer of children’s activities Thursday with a special Oregon Museum of Science and Industry program and local youth responded to the opportunity to learn more about electrostatics with 205 people in attendance.

Brad Alston, OMSI outreach educator, taught the children with various demonstrations that explores what itty-bitty electrons do when they’re on the move. Staged at Philomath Fire & Rescue Station 201, the program served as the first of several special library events for youth over the summer.

“We love collaborating with our local groups and the fire station generously lets us use this space because this is a lot bigger crowd, so we need a bigger space to accommodate it,” said Julia Engel, Philomath reference librarian.

Each summer’s activities are typically planned around a particular theme offered by the Collaborative Summer Library Program, a nationwide effort specifically created for librarians to share ideas, expertise and costs to produce high-quality summer reading programs for children, teens and adults.

“They plan a theme and give out materials,” Engel said. “Libraries can choose to use those materials or not but we usually go with that theme.”

“A Universe of Stories” serves as this summer’s theme and as such, planning has been geared toward activities with that component built in.

Engel said the library is hosting a summer reading program that officially ends on Aug. 31.

“We have a program for all ages and kids 18 and under can come to the library and pick up a free bag with a reading log in it and then they can pick out a free book to keep,” Engel said. “Once they turn in their reading logs, they’ll be entered to win some prizes.”

Here is a rundown of the library’s special Thursday activities along with a sampling of various other events being offered this summer:

• Thursday, June 27, 11 a.m. — Magician Curt Nelson takes children on a fun, magical reading adventure around the world.

• Thursday, July 11, 11 a.m. — The “I Love to Read Magic Show” with storytelling and balloon-sculpting will be offered at Philomath City Hall.

• Friday, July 12, 10:30-11:30 a.m. — The Chalk Roundup during the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo will occur with a competition for all ages. The rodeo queen will judge entries and award prizes.

• Saturday, July 13, 4-7 p.m. — The library will be on hand at the rodeo grounds during the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo to offer crafts and other kid-friendly activities.

• Wednesday, July 17, 10 a.m. — A special space-themed storytime, “Mother Goose Asks Why?” will be offered with science and math activities.

• Thursday, July 18, 11 a.m. — The University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History will be at City Hall for a presentation on how the Earth fits in among the planets, stars and galaxies.

• Thursday, July 25, 11 a.m. — Comedian Angel Ocasio will put on a variety show at City Hall with jokes, juggling and physical antics in a bilingual program for the whole family.

• Saturday, July 27, 1-3 p.m. — The library will host a Lego-building competition at the Benton County Historical Museum’s Family Day.

• Thursday, Aug. 1, 11 a.m. — A Maker Day for Kids will be offered at City Hall with robot-building and other activities.

• Thursday, Aug. 8, 11 a.m. — The Heart of the Valley Astronomers will display a scale model of the solar system and those attending can find out how much they weigh on Mars, look through a high-powered telescope and more.

Engel said the summer wraps up with a pool party at Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis.

Several activities for middle school and high school students have also been scheduled such as a movie, water tag and other events. See the library’s online calendar for details.

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