The Stephenville Public Library is offering its 51st Texas Summer Reading Program and other programs for all ages, giving families an opportunity to read together.

The library requires participants to read 12 books and record them in a log - which includes a free bookmark - in order to receive a goody bag. The goody bags are filled with donations from individuals and businesses such as Cici's Pizza, Sammye's Candy Outlet, Whataburger, The Apple Tree and several others.

Children receive a free ticket to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus in Fort Worth if they read five books.

"This is just for fun," said Lynn Loyd, the director of the Stephenville Public Library. "It gives children a chance to read books that they may not be able to otherwise."

Children who participate may have books read to them or read them on their own. Even babies and adults can participate and turn in a reading log. There is no age limit.

"We're just trying to include families as much as possible," said Loyd. "It's a time for everybody to enjoy."

The reading program started on June 2 and is tentatively scheduled to run through the middle of August.

"Families go on vacation and if (the reading log) gets turned in late, we're not going to turn anyone away," said Loyd.

Last summer, 576 people participated in the reading program, and the library is expecting it to be successful again this summer.

The library is also offering presentations for children every Thursday at 2 p.m. during story hour. Selected volunteers give a presentation on different professions and clubs. The fire department, the police department and the Stephenville Bass Club have given presentations to children already. On Thursday, local artist Opal Black painted a watercolor of a red barn in a field. Black then donated the painting as a prize, and Kody Johnson won a drawing to take the painting home.

At noon on Thursday, performers David and Cherie Gregg from the Ambassadors of Laughter from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus will give a presentation to the children about the circus.

That same night, the library is hosting its first family film night starting at 6 p.m. Families are encouraged to bring pillows and blankets to the library for the movie.

In July, Jesse and Kay Patterson will give a presentation about their All Things Small Farm where they raise miniature Mediterranean donkeys. The couple usually brings a baby donkey for the children to interact with and pet.

The Horticulture Club from Tarleton State University will also do a presentation for the children. They will be bringing coupons for the Tarleton Horticulture Center.

"I try to have indoor programs for July," said Loyd.

On July 28, the Friends of the Stephenville Public Library will host an Ice Cream Social at the back of the library. Ice cream from H-E-B, music, and give-aways will be present at the event. The Southwest Dairy Farmers, as part of their educational program, will bring a cow to milk and show the children that milk does not come from a carton.

"People reach out and they do help," Loyd said of the help and donations the library receives from the public. "It's a very giving community."

Story hour is held year-round at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and 2 p.m. on Thursdays. Library hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday; and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The library is closed on Sunday and Monday. The library will be closed on July 3-4.

The library is located at 174 North Columbia Street. For more information, contact the library at 918-1240.