by Amy Whitney, Branch Administrator, Thurmont Regional Library/Emmitsburg Branch Library

June 1 marks the beginning of our annual Summer Reading Challenge for all ages, birth to adult. This year’s theme, “Rediscover the Magic,” encourages individuals and families to explore community destinations, earn points by reading for enjoyment, and complete fun activities. All activities can be accomplished digitally at home and at a safe social distance! Summer Challenge Community Destinations are places throughout Frederick County that are supporting our Summer Challenge Program. While the public may not be able to visit like in years past, points can still be logged after visiting the participating businesses in person or online.

Summer Challenge Partners are community members and local businesses who have teamed up with FCPL to enrich our Summer Challenge. Summer Challenge Partners present and host programs (either recorded at their location or virtually) and are Summer Challenge Destinations throughout the county. Visit our website to register at starting June 1 or stop by the drive-thru window for more information.

Due to the popularity of our Smart Start Kits for preschool children, we’ve added more options in response to demand. Frederick County Public Libraries (FCPL) partnered with Johns Hopkins Community Physicians to expand the library’s Smart Start Kits to include STEAM-based learning and Social Emotional games and tools to promote exploration, relationship skills, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and responsible decision-making.

“Over the past year, we’ve heard from many of our customers that their youngest children need new screen-free activities, so we created these kits in response to that need,” said Deb Spurrier, Children’s Services Supervisor at Thurmont Regional Library. “Our current kits have had a constant waitlist, and thanks to the support of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, we now have a broader selection of STEAM-focused tools that provide high-quality early educational experiences for young children.”

Smart Start Kits are tailor-made for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and provide all necessary tools for an afternoon of activities. Examples of activities include Magnetic vs. Non-Magnetic, Makey-Makey technology, Computer Engineering, SmartArt and Fraction Fun.

In addition, the Thurmont Regional Library is set to have rotating StoryPaths all summer long on the Library Trail to encourage families to get out and move and learn together. Activity sheets and an art station tie the story to hands-on learning for kids. We hope you have a fun-filled summer, and we look forward to seeing you all very soon! Call us for all your information needs at 301-600-7200 or visit us online at

Courtesy Photo

Kids love learning with Smart Start Kits from the library.

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