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The Vandermolen family, of Palos Hills: Evan, 8; Elyssa, 5; and Evelyn, 10, enjoy Rainbow Cone at the Green Hills Public Library's Summer Reading Kick-off on June 12. (Photos by Kelly White)

The Vandermolen family, of Palos Hills: Evan, 8; Elyssa, 5; and Evelyn, 10, enjoy Rainbow Cone at the Green Hills Public Library's Summer Reading Kick-off on June 12. (Photos by Kelly White)

Green Hills Library kicks off Summer Reading program

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In celebration of the season, the Green Hills Public Library, 10331 Interlochen Drive, Palos Hills, hosted a Summer Reading Kick-Off party.

By Kelly White

The warm weather is upon us, but that is even more of a reason to visit your local library.

In celebration of the season, the Green Hills Public Library, 10331 Interlochen Drive in Palos Hills, hosted a Summer Reading Kick-Off with Rainbow Cone on Monday, June 12, at Bennett Park, 10801 S. Roberts Road, Palos Hills.

“Having a kick-off party is a great way for the community to register for the Library’s Summer Reading Challenge, and to participate in all the fun activities the library offers,” Jane Jenkins, Director of the Green Hills Public Library, said.

This year’s theme, which was selected by the Illinois Library Association’s iREAD team and called Find Your Voice!

“Our voices have power that we can use to share stories, express ourselves and spark change, not only with our voices but also with the words we write, and the actions we take each day to impact our world,” Jenkins said.

Attendees of all ages in both the Hickory Hills and Palos Hills areas were invited to join library staff for an afternoon of fun at Bennett Park and register for the library’s annual Summer Reading Program. As a special treat, all registrants received free ice cream from Rainbow Cone, which had one of its food trucks at the special event.

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Green Hills Public Library’s Head of Youth Services, Natalie Djordjevic, and the library’s Youth Programming Librarian, Kris Sumner, at the Green Hills Public Library’s Summer Reading Kick-off party.

“We look forward to this at the start of every summer season,” Kristen Szymczak, of Palos Hills, said.

The library offers a summer reading program annually for community members of all ages, and as a way to get the community together.

The library’s annual summer reading event was temporarily put on hold during the pandemic, but residents were happy to see the program return in 2022. Last year was also the first time the event was held outside of the library at Bennett Park.

“The Summer Reading Challenge is for all ages, but it is especially important to keep our young children reading during the summer holidays so they don’t fall into the summer slide,” Jenkins said.

Summer slide is the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer vacation in countries that have lengthy breaks in the school year.

“What better way to do this than to join our fun Summer Reading Challenge. I looked forward to seeing everyone at the kick-off,” Jenkins said.

As they have in the past, library staff combined the summer reading event with The Original Rainbow Cone, based out of Chicago, with a new location in Orland Park, so all attendees could enjoy a cold, delicious treat.

For entertainment, the library featured musician, Dave Rudolph, who performed two concerts at the event.

“Dave is a library favorite who we have had in the past and he always puts on a great show,” Jenkins said.

The library hoped to get at least 300 people signed up for their Summer Reading Program during Monday’s event, but gathered many more than that, including the Vandermolen family.

“We take part in all of the library’s programs,” Heather Vandermolen, of Palos Hills, said. “We like to stay super involved and everything at our library is fantastic.”

Green Hills Public Library’s Summer Reading Program is also free to participate in and library staff offer great prizes, including those that support local Palos Hills’ and Hickory Hills’ businesses. For those who were unable to attend the Kick-Off party, registration for summer reading is available directly at the library.

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In celebration of the season, the Green Hills Public Library, 10331 Interlochen Dr, Palos Hills, hosted a Summer Reading Kick-Off party with Rainbow Cone on June 12 at Bennett Park, 10801 S. Roberts Road, Palos Hills.

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