The Kent Free Library’s Summer Reading Program theme is "Libraries Rock!" and on June 7, kids put on their dancing shoes and enjoyed a party in the library’s meeting room, specially decorated with streamers, balloons, lights, music notes, and records.

The morning session had 28 dancers ages 2 to 5 years, and the afternoon session had 10 older dancers in kindergarten through third grade. This is the fourth dance party the Youth Services Department has hosted.

Librarians selected both new and old music for dancing, including "Can’t Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake, "Surfin Safari" by the Beach Boys, "We Will Rock You" by Queen, and "Freeze Dance" by Greg and Steve.

Blow up guitars, microphones, and neon glasses were available to try out during the dances, and children really enjoyed playing air guitar. Youth Services Manager Shelley Hall said kids used these props to pretend that they were in a rock band.

According to Hall, adding props to the event helps to bring kids out of their shell and interact with each other. "It’s also a great way to include children who aren’t so confident in their dancing — a prop helps them feel comfortable and even to come up with some moves of their own," she added.

Hall said that in addition to letting kids experiment with their own moves, she showed them some break dancing moves and taught them to do the "sprinkler" and "The Twist" by Chubby Checker. "Some of the parents got into doing the twist with the kids," Hall noted. "A lot of the children commented that it was harder to twist for the whole song than they thought it would be!"

The Library’s Youth Services has started hosting dance parties several times a year. "In addition to being good exercise, it’s a great way to begin to teach children about creative expression and movement," said Hall. She noted that each 45-minute session begins with a warm up and ends with a cool down.

For more information about the library’s lineup of programs and services for children, tweens, and teens, visit www.kentfreelibrary.org.