With Jackson County libraries shut down indefinitely, summer reading is likely to prove one of the first major casualties of the Rogue Valley's lack of access to free books.

With Jackson County libraries shut down indefinitely, summer reading is likely to prove one of the first major casualties of the Rogue Valley's lack of access to free books.

Sadly, kids who don't read during the summer, area teachers say, lose reading skills and wind up starting back to school in the fall with lower reading scores than they had before summer began.

To the rescue, a host of places, schools, churches and book stores are offering weekly story sessions and book borrowing privileges.

For its part, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, on Biddle Road in Medford, will offer Saturday afternoon story time and a special summer reading incentive program.

Barnes and Noble assistant store manager Tish Snyder says the variety of programs are likely focused on the same goal — to replace some of what Rogue Valley kids would otherwise do without this summer.

"When they've read eight books, they can come in and pick a free book from the store," said Snyder.

"They can be any eight books from anywhere. They can share with friends, get them from book shares"¦ it's just a way for us to help them keep reading and have an incentive to keep reading throughout the summer."

Story time at Barnes and Noble begins at 1 p.m. every Saturday. A second story time will be added later. For details, call 858-0203.

The Storytelling Guild will present story time at 10:30 a.m. each Thursday for kids age 2-7 at the Santo Community Center, 701 N. Columbus Avenue, Medford. Kids' Imagination Discovery Space, 226 N. Ross Lane, story time takes place from 11 a.m. to noon every Friday. Story time is free but participants must pay admission to the facility ($2 for adults and $5 for kids). For details, 772-9922. Former Gold Hill librarian Lori Hettman recently began hosting a weekly story time at 1 p.m., every Thursday in the basement of the Methodist Church, 413 Daranelles Street, Gold Hill. Former Ashland librarian Perii Hauschild-Owen reads at Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way from 10:30 to 11 a.m. every Thursday. North Mountain Park Nature Center in Ashland will present a weekly story time from 10:30 a.m. to noon every Friday for younger kids. To sign up, call 488-6606.

A host of churches and schools are stepping up to the plate, offering book borrowing privileges for Rogue Valley families. Requirements for book borrowing varies, as do hours of operation.

Sponsored by the Medford Schools Foundation, Medford elementary school students may check out books from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Tuesday (June 26-August 21) at the following school libraries:

Jacksonville Elementary, 655 Hueners Lane, Jacksonville

Jackson Elementary, 630 W. Jackson Street, Medford

Lone Pine Elementary, 3158 Lone Pine Road, Medford

Oak Grove Elementary, 2838 Jacksonville Hwy, Medford

Wilson Elementary, 1400 Johnson Street, Medford

The Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, 425 Middle Street, will offer a summer library program for all kids accompanied by a parent. The location offers over 1,000 books and is available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For details, call 899-1287.

Phoenix-Talent School District students can sign up to borrow books from the following locations:

Phoenix Elementary, 215 N. Rose St., Phoenix. (8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday, June 26 through Aug. 16, closed July 19 and July 24)

Talent Elementary, 307 Wagner Creek Road, Talent. (7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays, June 26 through Aug. 16 and 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday, July 23 through Aug. 16)

Orchard Hill Elementary, 1011 La Loma Drive, Medford. (9 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays and Thursdays, June 25 to Aug. 2

Ashland School District students can borrow books from the following locations:

Bellview Elementary, 1070 Tolman Creek Road, Ashland. (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, June 25 through Aug. 13

Ashland Middle School, 100 Walker Ave., Ashland. (Noon to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, June 26 through Aug. 14)

Helman Elementary School, 705 Helman St., Ashland. (9 a.m .to 3 p.m. Wednesdays, June 27 through Aug. 15

Ashland High School, 201 S. Mountain Ave., Ashland. (Noon to 7 p.m. Thursdays, June 28 through Aug. 16)

Walker Elementary, 364 Walker Ave., Ashland. (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays, June 29 through Aug. 17)