JEFFERSON — Jefferson Carnegie Library’s summer reading program blasted off with a great start on Wednesday, with dozens of children turning up for the NASA themed “Universe of Stories” activities and books.

“We had a great turnout this first event,” volunteer Stacy Mills said Wednesday. “Our theme this year is in line with the national theme which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing in 1969.”

Children read space and NASA themed books on Wednesday, including a book by former NASA Astronaut Mark Kelly, before taking part in arts and crafts projects and enjoying snacks.

The Jefferson library is re-focusing its summer reading program this year on emphasizing reading and Mills said the program has already made a difference for area children in years past.

“We want to encourage children to come use their library, get a library card and enjoy books,” Mills said.

“Last year, we saw a 30 percent increase towards the end of the summer of children checking out books as a result of this program,” she added

The Jefferson summer reading program will be held at 10 a.m. each Wednesday at the library, through July 10.

The program is geared towards students entering grades in kindergarten through fifth grade.

For a full schedule, visit the library’s website at www.jeffersoncarnegielibrary.org/ or its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jeffersoncarnegielibrary/.

Marshall and Waskom Public Library’s kick off their summer reading programs next week.

Marshall’s program will include activities on Tuesday through Friday each week beginning June 11 and running through Aug. 2.

Registration is currently going on.

For a full Marshall summer reading program schedule, visit the library’s website at www.marshalltexas.net/departments/library or its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MarshallPublicLibrary/.

Waskom’s program will take place at 2 p.m. June 13, 20 and 27 and July 11, 18 and 25.

For more information about the summer reading program, call the library at 903-687-3041 or one can visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/waskompubliclibrary/.

Hallsville’s Summer Reading program meets at 10 a.m. June 11 at Hallsville North Elementary School.

All programs are free of charge.