Shining a Light on Literacy

Jun 27, 2022 | News, Shelf Life, Youth Services

The Youth Services department is shining brighter at York Public Library. Our new light table, a unique literacy tool, is the focal piece of the new literacy discovery area in the Children’s Room. This exciting addition to the Library was made possible thanks to a generous donation from Altrusa International of Seacoast ME. Altrusa is an international non-profit organization dedicated to making local communities better through leadership, partnership, and service.

Altrusa presents Check

Altrusa of the Seacoast presents Katie Arey, Head of Youth Services, with a check for the light table.

The YPL librarians are glowing with excitement over the light table because it opens the door to new opportunities for literacy skill development and engagement at the Library. Like moths to a flame, the light draws children in, and encourages hands-on exploration of the early literacy materials intentionally arranged on the table. 

The cooperative play environment sets the stage for enhanced learning as children of different ages and literacy levels engage in play with one another. Materials range from alphabet awareness, to complex storytelling using themed books and photographs. 

Invitations to play and discover will change regularly. Currently, the table is appropriately dressed up with aquatic animals, word building challenges and ocean-themed books for the launch of our annual Summer Challenge. The theme for the 2022 summer is Oceans of Possibilities

York Public Library’s summer program pairs beautifully with the reveal of our new light table. Summer reading programs are a cornerstone of youth programming at libraries across the country, and are a key component  in building literacy skills, developing an intrinsic and lifelong appreciation for reading, and most importantly, stemming summer learning loss, also known as the “summer slide.” The goal of our annual challenge is to encourage children, teens and adults to develop consistent reading habits.

Altrusa and Light Table

Altrusa of the Seacoast visited the York Public Library Children’s Room to see the new Light Table.

Open for all ages to participate, members of the community may learn more about how to participate in our Oceans of Possibilities summer challenge by visiting The challenge runs from Saturday, June 25 through Saturday, August 6. Stop by York Public Library to register for the summer challenge, and if you happen to have young ones in your care, bring them downstairs to the Children’s Room to experience the Oceans of Possibilities discovery area!

Here are some under-the-sea stories to get you in the spirit of summer. 

“The Snail and the Whale” by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler

“The Big Book of the Blue” by Yuval Zommer

“There Might Be Lobsters” by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Laurel Molk

“If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t!” by Elise Parsley

“Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea” by Ben Clanton

“Not Quite Narwhal” by Jessie Sima

“Who Would Win? Ultimate Ocean Rumble” by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Rob Bolster

“Swashby And The Sea” by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

“Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist” by Jess Keating, illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns

“Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee” by Chris Van Dusen