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story.lead_photo.caption Mary Beth Gunter, a wildlife programmer with Animalogy, poses for a photo with a pig named Poppy. Animalogy, wildlife education experts who give children an opportunity to interact with animals, will be part of the Texarkana Public Library Summer Reading Club's invitation-only reward party July 19.

A summer full of reading and other fun activities for children begins soon at the Texarkana Public Library.

Parents can register children ages 1 to 16 for the library's Summer Reading Club during a kickoff event June 1. Registration will continue through June 29.

Club members will receive a log book in which to record their reading times. Children 12 years old or younger who read for at least nine hours, and older children who read for at least 15 hours, by July 13 can attend an invitation-only party July 19.

This year's party will feature the return of a popular program by Animalogy, wildlife education experts who bring animals for children to interact with, said Nancy Whittemore, coordinator of the library's children's collection and programs.

Along the way, club members can draw for prizes from local businesses, and near-daily activities and performances will keep them entertained.

Performers include musicians Jim "The Spoon Man" Cruise, who mixes educational messages with spoon-playing, and Mike Schneider, whose Pint Size Polkas program brings polka music, dancing and singalongs to children. Magical Balloons balloon-sculpting will pay a visit, as will magician Aaron Acosta. A variety of arts and crafts activities are scheduled, including a family coloring day and cardboard loom weaving.

A new activity this year is the StarLab portable planetarium, an inflatable dome children enter to see the night sky and other images projected onto the interior.

A full schedule of shows and activities is available at the library. Some will have limited attendance and require pre-registration.

The club kickoff will take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. June 1 in the David Nelson Meeting Room at the library, 600 W. Third St.

For more information, call Whittemore at 903-794-2149.

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