Summer reading programs promote community engagement

Summer reading programs at public libraries in Edinburgh, Johnson County and Greenwood have all started to welcome waves of children and adults, as in-person activities return in full force for the first summer since 2019.

At the Greenwood Public Library, what used to be called the Summer Reading Program is now called the Summer Challenge. The new name reflects library officials’ efforts to involve more people in community activities in addition to meeting their reading goals, said Emily Ellis, the library’s assistant director.

The theme of the challenge is “Once Upon a Fairy Tale” and includes library activities, such as crafts, wreath making, and exploring fairy tales. Outdoors, Summer Challenge participants are encouraged to explore Greenwood’s parks and trails. The library will also host a Looney Tunes screening in Old Town Park on July 1, Ellis said.

“Previous years it was just reading, but this year we decided to make this change. It encourages people to explore the parks in Greenwood, there’s a Great Arts Quest Aspire (Johnson County) that takes place in June and there are weekly challenges for customers,” she said. “The highest priority is reading, and you get points for reading every day and completing books, points for raffle tickets. If someone just wants to read, community members who are avid readers can complete the program just by reading, but we hope to bring people back into the building. It’s an opportunity for them to get to know us again in our first real summer since 2019.”

The Summer Challenge, which began May 16, runs through July 31 and had 874 readers on Thursday, Ellis said.

The Johnson County Public Library’s Explore Summer program, which had about 650,000 accumulated reading minutes Thursday, has a goal of 4 million reading minutes when the program ends July 31. The library has already surpassed its goal of 4,000 enrollees, programming manager Kelly Staten said in an email.

Similar to Greenwood Public Library, participants from Johnson County Public Library participate in the Great Arts Quest. In addition to logging at least one hour of reading each week with the Beanstack app, or a total of 10 hours before the end of the program for a prize, Explore Summer activities include making a chalk mural on the sidewalk, staging a book or movie scene, writing a letter to a librarian and posting a photo of a pet on the library’s Facebook page, among other activities, according to the library’s Explore Summer brochure.

For weeks, readers register three learning activities they are entered to win gift cards from Chicago’s Pizza, Regal Cinemas, 10 Pins and Coffeehouse Five, as well as other local businesses. For someone who completes 10 hours of reading, the library will also be giving away a grand prize of a night at the Bottleworks Hotel in Indianapolis, as well as a gas gift card and gift cards to The Garage Food Hall. , Living Room Theaters and Pins Mechanical Company, according to the flyer.

The program will encourage students to read and learn even when school is closed, Lisa Lintner, director of the Johnson County Public Library, said in an email.

“The Explore Summer Learning Program is open to residents of all ages and specifically designed to encourage students to read and engage in learning activities outside of school to maintain their reading and writing skills. education,” she said. “Programs like this help students return to school ready to start a new school year strong.”

Edinburgh readers can take part in their library’s summer reading programme, which started from June 6 to July 9, and earn a chance to win prizes along the way. Next week, for example, the library is handing out free passes to the local swimming pool, said Chris Hoffman, director of the Edinburgh Public Library.

If readers reach a certain threshold, they will be invited to a pool and pizza party on July 19, where they will be entered for the grand prizes, he said.

“It’s open to everyone. Our goal is 20 pounds for everyone by July 9,” Hoffman said. “You can read as many as you want, but it takes 20 to be invited to the pool party. We have several great prizes, including family passes to the Children’s Museum and Indianapolis Zoo and tickets to sporting events.

The summer reading program has already attracted around 100 readers in its first week and, in addition to reading, will also include a magic show and an outdoor water show this summer, he said.

“I think, more than anything, it’s a great way to keep kids academically engaged throughout the summer when they’re not involved in school,” Hoffman said. “It’s a great way for parents and children to connect and do an activity together.”

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