Summer is just around the corner and JCLS is excited to announce the beginning of the Summer Reading program. This year’s theme is Readers are Leaders and libraries across Jackson County will be offering both Take & Make kits and both virtual and limited in-person programs. All of us look forward to welcoming children and families back to the library for this long-standing summer tradition.  

Register for upcoming programs and sign up for Summer Reading here, or just pop into your local library and we’ll walk you through it. 

This week, the Ashland Library’s children’s department will give out Take & Make kits celebrating how each of us is a unique part of our community. As we all know, it can sometimes be a bit of a puzzle figuring out who we are and how we fit into the ever-changing times we’re in. 

Happy to lend a metaphorical hand, the Take & Make kit, aptly named “We are all a piece of the puzzle,” will include several blank puzzle pieces and a range of materials to decorate them. We are asking participants to return the finished and beautified pieces to the library and we will endeavor to create an in-progress pièce de résistance displayed on the bulletin boards in the children’s department.  

Will there be missing pieces? Certainly. Are we creating something that will look like a finished jigsaw puzzle? Certainly not. Are we going to create something new, intriguing, amazing, and beautiful? Absolutely! And how cool is that? 

If you can’t make it to the Ashland Library and still would like to contribute to our community puzzle, I have some ideas to help you get started. 

  1. Many of us have old jigsaw puzzles with missing pieces hanging around the house. Repurpose one  by turning it over and decorating the blank side. 
  1. If you don’t a have a puzzle at home, most thrift stores, garage sales, and even some of our libraries have used puzzles for free or for very little money. 
  1. Dollar stores often have small jigsaw puzzles, so you can take look there as well. 

To decorate your puzzle, the sky’s the limit. In Ashland, we had fun experimenting with a variety of materials: 

1. Crayon

puzzle piece decorated with crayon

2. Tissue paper

puzzle piece decorated with tissue paper

3. Acrylic paint and yarn

puzzle piece decorated with acrylic paint and yarn

4. Tempera paint

puzzle piece decorated with tempera paint

5. Markers and stickers

puzzlel piece decorated with markers and stickers

You can also glue on gems, sequins, add some ribbon, crepe paper, anything you have on hand. The only thing that might not work would be watercolor paint, but if you have it, it’s worth a try. Just mix it with a little all-purpose glue or egg white and see what happens. It could be a really fun experiment! 

When you’re done with your project, take a snack break and view the bilingual Storytime short featuring the book Marvelous Maravilloso by Carrie Lara. It’s a wonderful story that reminds readers that we are all a beautiful and unique part of our communities.