In recent years, Lake City Public Library has increasingly felt a space crunch as it has outgrown its current building.

"We need at least four times the space we have right now," said children's librarian Diane Spence.

"We currently have over 275 children registered between the two summer reading programs. There's not enough room inside the library, so we make do by moving more activities outside."

About 80 children signed up for the reading program cookout and scavenger hunt at Hok-Si-La Park on Tuesday.

With the theme "What's Cooking," Hok-Si-La and Lake City Library will not only highlight reading, but healthy eating and physical activity as well.

"I'm hunting for stamps," said 4-year-old Ava Brunn. "We hunt for them, and when we find them we get to stamp."

"It's fun to look for stuff," said Ava's sister, Courtney.

"This is our first year participating in the reading program," said their mom, Jessica Brunn. "It's a wonderful program. It encourages reading in a lot of different contexts. This year's theme is 'Look What's Cooking.' It's giving me more ideas to encourage them to read. I'm surprised how much they can read off cereal boxes."

The summer reading program includes several activities over a five-week period usually starting the week after school gets out. This year's program included a teddy bear band, a magician and a puppet show.

"The goal is to get kids to come to the library and read," Spence said. "There are studies that prove children who are read to regularly at a young age do better in school because it helps them process language better. It doesn't even matter what you read -- just read."

Such programs are important because they encourage kids to read during the summer, she said. "If you develop good reading skills, it carries over to other aspects of your life."

Spence expressed concern for the future of Lake City library programs

"The craft table is in our only meeting room," she said. "There have been times when kids were here to do the crafts and they couldn't do it because there was a meeting. Or times when adults wanted to use the computers but couldn't because we had a program."

Last summer, the Lake City Council had a special meeting at the Home Pros building to investigate uses such as a library. But the council decided that the cost to buy it, plus the cost of renovations, wasn't good use of public funds, council member Ray St. Martin said.