Newton, NC – The Catawba County Library continues to innovate to serve the community with online programming for all ages. In addition to storytime, STEAM activities, and book clubs, the library is showcasing its annual Summer Learning programs virtually, providing a robust selection of activities for the whole family to connect, explore, and grow. Everything is easily accessible from the library’s home page:

In March, children’s bilingual storytime made its debut on Facebook. In these sessions, storytime librarians share a favorite children’s book and practice early literacy activities, including songs, fingerplays, and crafts. These simple, engaging programs are posted to the library’s Facebook and YouTube accounts each Wednesday afternoon. All previous storytime programs and related materials are also available to watch on demand or binge at the library’s Storytime@Home site. (From the library’s home page, click on ‘Your Library is Open Again’ to select Storytime@Home.)

Online STEAM programs bring fun, do-it-yourself science projects directly to home kitchens. In each one, library staff demonstrate the steps involved while sharing materials lists and prompts for further exploration. Kids are encouraged to tweak the given process in different ways to discover how those changes affect the experiment’s results. Find these videos on Facebook and YouTube as well.

Family Challenges
Weekly family challenges provide an easy way for youngsters and adults to enjoy time together working toward a common goal. Everyone is invited to weigh in as they complete tasks like searching for unusual bugs, hosting a backyard camp-out, or putting together an impromptu dance party. The way that each challenge is carried out is totally up for grabs, and families are encouraged to take photos of their efforts and share their successes. Family challenges are posted each Friday on Facebook.

English as a Second Language classes are an online favorite for adults, giving non-native speakers a chance to hone their skills on a regular basis. Each Monday and Thursday at 5:30 pm, participants come together in a Zoom meeting for beginners, where they learn about vocabulary, mechanics, and more. At 6:30 pm on those same days, intermediate sessions focus on conversation, giving participants a chance to use their knowledge in real-life situations. To check availability for these classes, call 828.465.8665.

LiveWell @ the Library
This award-winning initiative increases community health awareness, encourages better habits, and provides free opportunities to explore exercise, nutrition, and wellness opportunities. Zumba instructors Honey Estrada and Jossiah Yang demonstrate their dedication to community and their passion for sharing fun dance sessions live on Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 5:30 pm. They also offer a third weekly class, called STRONG, which features high-intensity interval training and is presented on Saturday mornings at 9 am. For the Zoom meeting codes, check the library’s online events calendar or search for ‘Zumba with Honey and Jossiah’ on Facebook.

Summer Learning Performers
The library’s yearly Summer Learning experience is also capitalizing on Facebook and Zoom technology, particularly for its nationally-known headline acts. Introducing the series is a specially recorded session by award-winning storyteller Donna Washington. A virtuoso performer who’s been bringing folklore and literary stories to life for more than 30 years, she’s been called a ‘walking Disney movie’ and has been told that she’s ‘better than television.’ The library has made her performance available online from 10 am on Monday, June 15 through 10 am on Monday, June 22.

On Monday, June 22 at 3 pm, an instructor from Mad Science will present the first of two real-time Zoom sessions illustrating the principles of air and pressure. The interactive experiments shown will be woven into tales of mischievous spells, dragon-riding, and explosive dragon sneezes featuring Spectaclia and her pet dragon! An identical session will be presented on Monday, July 13 at 3 pm. Registration is required and is available through the library’s online events calendar.

On Monday, July 27 at 3 pm, performer Yasu Ishida will entertain youngsters with Origami Magic. The multicultural show takes viewers on an adventure called Dreamer’s Carnival, which is filled with stories, magic, kamishibai (Japanese picture board storytelling), and the making of origami animals. Registration will be available on the library’s events calendar later in the summer.

Summer Learning @ Home Activities
This year, the library has enhanced its Summer Learning program with a fun, online, interactive portal called Beanstack, where participants can earn badges for logging their reading minutes and completing activities. Beanstack provides a personalized experience and even offers weekly book recommendations tailored to a reader’s age and preferences. Available on the web and as a smartphone app from the Apple App and Google Play Stores, the online platform allows participants to engage from home in a whole new way with the addition of challenging activities, including taking trips to local parks, writing book reviews, and participating in online library programs. The Summer Learning theme – ‘Imagine Your Story’ – embraces everything from myth and fairy tale to folklore, local history, and family genealogy. People of all ages are encouraged to register by visiting and clicking on the Summer Learning links.

For more information about Summer Learning or the Catawba County Library’s resources and services, visit, call 828.465.8665, email [email protected], or visit