Whitman County libraries take different approach to summer programs 

Discover Passes offered for eight library cardholders; patrons can watch digital play mid-June



Children, teenagers and adults can win a grand prize for completing the Whitman County Library summer reading program.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

While Whitman County Library had planned to offer many programs this summer, those events had to be put on the back burner, said Sheri Miller, associate director and youth services manager of Whitman County Library.

Sarah Phelan-Blamires, WCL public services librarian, said she hosts trivia night at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays on Facebook. It will continue through at least June 11.

She also presents a book club that meets 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. On the second Monday, participants talk about what they are reading. On the fourth Monday, they try to read an e-book together, although people can still request print books from the library, Phelan-Blamires said.

For more information on these and other events, patrons can check the calendar of events.

WCL also has a summer reading program for all ages. It ends Aug. 31, and there will be a drawing for a grand prize in September. For the children’s reading program, they can read or listen to 10 books for 10 hours.

Teenagers read and rate three books and do three imagination quests, some of which include checking out a cookbook and making a recipe or redesigning a book cover, Phelan-Blamires said.

One of the imagination quests offered is entering a fairy-tale creature art contest.

The art contest is open for preschoolers through 12th graders. Submissions are open from June 26 to July 3. Students must submit a photo of a fairy-tale creature made out of any media, such as watercolor or recycled materials, said Nichole Kopp, WCL teen librarian and youth services assistant.

Five prize winners will be selected by July 10, Kopp said.

For the adult reading challenge, participants can complete three tasks, such as reading a book published the decade they were born, reading for an hour outside, or checking out an outdoor activity bag, Phelan-Blamires said.

There are activity bags for hiking, fishing and bird-watching. The fishing bag includes a collapsible fishing pole, she said. The hiking bag includes trail guides for eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Binoculars are included in the bird-watching bag.

The newest activity bag includes a Discover Pass, which allows access to Washington state parks. There are eight permits available, WCL Business Manager Shirley Cornelius said.

“I’m hoping that people will take advantage [of this]. A lot of people don’t want to spend the money for the pass,” she said.

A Discover Pass is $11.50 for one day or $35 for a yearly pass. The pass can also be used in many recreational areas besides parks, such as wildlife areas and water-access points.

For example, the Discover Passes can be used at Steptoe Butte or Palouse Falls State Park, she said. People can check the passes out and use them anywhere in Washington.

The bags also include binoculars, guides to birds and plants, and county maps. They can be checked out to any adult with a library card for one to two weeks, Cornelius said.

Cornelius said WCL has annual passes, which will be available until the end of February 2021.

Miller said the libraries are also offering an online play performed by the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company. “Sherlock Holmes Takes the Case” will be available June 14-21. An access code is required to view it, which can be obtained by calling WCL. 

Patrons with the code can view the play as many times as they like within the time frame, Miller said. 

Children can have the chance to win a free book by sending a picture of them watching the show to Traveling Lantern, Phelan-Blamires said.

Certain Whitman County libraries will soon be offering curbside pickup, Miller said. The libraries will be offering to-go bags for children and families, including crafts, coloring or bean-planting.

“They’ll be able to have activities and things that would keep them busy for a while,” she said.

The Colfax Library has an obstacle course drawn in front of it, Miller said.

“All ages we’ve seen walk through and jump and hop and roar and whatever it says on the sidewalk,” she said. “They’ve had fun doing that.”

The rain washes it away, Miller said, so the obstacle course changes each time they have to draw a new one.

Book drops are still open, and the libraries are mailing out materials and books, she said.