Public libraries across Ohio are gearing up to offer summer reading programs for students and adults of all ages.

At the Newcomerstown Public Library, they focus on all things underground with fun and educational events, prizes and crafts covering geology, paleontology, mining, worm farming and more, while promoting the enjoyment of reading a good book.

The program kicks off June 3 with the Akron Zoo, bringing live animals via their Mobile Zoo program, and will run until July 27.

A variety of activities are offered for children of preschool age through high school, including artist Jeff Nicholas teaching us to "Dig it, Draw it," worm farming with the Norma Johnson Center, learning about underground music and culture, an Ice Age Dinosaur dig, and experiencing the life of a coal miner with the Rosebud Company.

Grand prizes for children and teens will be drawn at a finale party to be held at the close of the summer program featuring food, games and prizes for all.

A brand new 20-inch bicycle and helmet serve as grand prize for one lucky winner, and loot for young adults includes movie passes for Shelby Theatres, Chilly Willy's gift certificate, Ohio State Fair passes and lots more. Funding for events and supplies for the Summer Reading Program has been generously provided through a grant from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio awarded earlier this year to the Newcomerstown Friends of the Library.

Studies show that students who do not read during the summer can experience "summer set-back," losing ground in learning and returning to school less ready for the next year than when they began their summer break.

"While school is out for the summer there is no better place to be inspired and to stay in the learning mode than at the local public library," said former Commissioner of Education Dwight D. Jones."Libraries offer terrific summer programs to inspire and enlighten students of all ages.

If you don't do it already, consider making your local public library one of the routine places to visit this summer."

Not only can students have fun reading and earning prizes from the Newcomerstown Public Library this summer, a "groundbreaking" Adult Summer Reading Program is being offered as well with weekly prizes and a grand prize.

Registration begins May 28 for all programs. The earlier you sign up, the more chances you have to win.

For information, contact Newcomerstown Public Library at 498-8228, on the web at http://www.newcomerstownlibrary.org or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nctpl.