By Julie Huss
---- — Summer can be a great time to curl up with a good book.
For the hundreds of children signed up for the annual library summer reading programs at area libraries, it’s also a summer of crafts, music and special activities.
The season always seems to draw a crowd.
Libraries in Derry and Londonderry are following the statewide summer reading theme, “Dig Into Reading.” Libraries are planning events to help support that theme, including programs featuring worms, dirt, ants, time capsules, and animals who love to dig.
There are also archaeological-themed activities, including Egyptian games, hieroglyphics and crafts.
Derry Public Library is taking the summer theme to a whole new level complete with famed archaeological adventurer Indiana Jones, mummies, tombs and build-your-own pyramid fun.
Children’s library director Evan Bush even dressed up like swashbuckling Indiana Jones to bring in business for the library this summer and to market Derry Public” “Raiders of the Lost Library” adventure schedule.
“He was very impressive,” library employee Kathy Musto said.
Bush visited Derry schools right before the end of the school year to give information about what the library would be doing all summer.
“I loved it,” Bush said. “They were so excited about it.”
Both Bush and Musto agreed Derry Public Library has outdone itself this summer with sticking to the theme and then taking it to the most impressive levels.
“This is the most extravagant summer reading program we’ve done,” Musto said.
Bush said last year Derry Public Library had 630 children involved by the end of the eight-week session.
As of July 11, there were already 557 signed up.
At Taylor Library in East Derry, director Linda Merrill said the summer’s numbers have been impressive.
Merrill said she was hosting morning story hours with upward of 20 children and many times more than 30 show up in the afternoon.
The library is also hosting additional activities like Carnival Night and a tea party.
Taylor and Derry Public also team up throughout the summer to plan special events together.
The upcoming Wayne From Maine music concert on July 31 is one collaborative effort.
“It’s a good partnership,” Merrill said. “We’ve always done things together.”
She said the tiny library is “holding its own” after a budget scare this spring.
All libraries also host events tailored toward older readers, including teens and adults, all keeping with the theme. There are genealogical workshops at Derry Public and book clubs planned.
Derry Public Library presents “Underground Town” on July 18 at 1:30 p.m., featuring Miss Courtney reading stories about living underground with prairie dogs. Children will have a chance to pretend they are prairie dogs and tunnel themselves through tubing at the library.
Taylor Library hosts its Teddy Bear Sleepover on July 25 at 6:30 p.m. Children can arrive in their pajamas and bring their favorite teddy bear along. The stuffed friends will then spend the night at the library.
Leach Library in Londonderry also hosts a long list of summer reading adventures with programs on Egypt, digging, and learning about history and archaeology.
Leach Library hosts “Walk Like an Egyptian” July 22 at 11 a.m. and will also offer a look at some creatures who like to dig with a hermit crab program on July 31 at 11 a.m.
For a full schedule of summer library events, visit derrypl.org and taylorlibrary.org. To learn more about Leach Library’s schedule, call 432-1127.