A Universe of Stories is the theme for this year’s Hays Public Library Summer Challenge. Throughout the summer all ages are encouraged to participate in reading activities, hands-on events and a variety of programs based on the theme of space exploration.

The Children and Young Adult departments will begin the adventure with blastoff parties. The Young Adult event will be at 1:23 p.m. Friday, May 17. Children can enjoy a come-and-go space carnival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 21.

For children and teens, the Summer Challenge is an exciting way to improve literacy during the summer months.

Numerous studies show that kids who don't read during summer vacation actually slip in reading ability by the time school begins in the fall. The kids will be encouraged to read and attend educational events throughout the summer to complete activity logs and earn prizes.

Children and teens must register either at the library or online at hayslibrary.org to be eligible to win prizes. Registration opened May 1, and prizes are awarded for registering. Completed logs will be accepted beginning May 20.  

Adult patrons also are included in the fun. Anyone 18 and older can participate by completing a bookmark featuring 10 challenges. Some of the challenges include reading a book from the summer reading list, visiting the Kansas Room, checking out something to watch, and attending a library program.

Each time a challenge is accomplished, the bookmark is stamped. Completed bookmarks can be turned in by Aug. 1 for entry into a drawing for one of three prize packages. The bookmarks will be available starting May 20.

Special events for each age group are scheduled throughout the summer.

For more information on the Summer Challenge and a complete schedule of events go to hayslibrary.org or call (785) 625-9014.