Summer is finally here, with its warm breeze prompting us to enjoy picnics in the parks, bike rides on the Minuteman Bikeway, walks on the beach, barbecues, ice cream, and The Arlington Libraries Summer Reading Program!

The Summer Reading Program at the Robbins and Fox Branch libraries is a non-competitive program encouraging kids and families to explore stories and discover the magic of reading over the summer months. Children receive a free book for registering and a 2nd free book after completing 10 hours of reading or listening. It’s a great way to make reading fun over the summer! In addition, children can vote at both libraries for one of three mysterious (and rarely seen) animals when they complete each 10 hours of reading. Who will win at the end of the Summer? Will it be the Red Lipped Bat Fish, Pink Fairy Armadillo, or Amazonian Royal Flycatcher?

My kids are excited each summer to go to the library to sign up for the program, discover new books, or re-read their favorites. Visiting the library and getting new books each week is a great motivator and a fun trip for us.

Since my children were babies, the library has been a special place for our family. In addition to finding access to books, the library has provided us with access to a community. As a first-time mom, I remember bringing my baby to the sing-along classes. It was an inviting place where I would meet other parents, and we would share experiences and provide support to each other. As my kids grew older, the library was the place to discover new toys and socialize with other kids. They have developed a deep love for the library, a place where they can foster independence by choosing their own book, asking the librarian for recommendations, and a place where they can see their friends after school. The library has given us a way to further explore our city and expand our knowledge acquired through books with passes to museums, providing our family with memorable experiences and opening a world of imagination and exploration.

I recently joined the Arlington Libraries Foundation board to help the library’s mission to create opportunities for lifelong learning, meaningful connection, and discovery for all. One of the primary board efforts is to support the renovations of the Robbins Library and the construction of a new, fully accessible Fox Branch Library. Professionally I work as a Project Manager for a National Construction Management Company and joined the Fox Branch Library Facility Needs Committee Assessment to help explore options to bring a renovated library with updated infrastructure to the community. This is my way of giving back for all the opportunities the library has provided to our family.

Annette Valdez
Board Member