By MARK EVANS
Getting kids to read and drawing more people into the library are both goals of the Ste Genevieve County Library’s 2021 summer reading program.
Titled “Tails & Tales,” the program officially kicks off June 12, although reading for participants has been tracked since June 1.
“The concept is usually picked by the collaborative summer reading program,” library director Shawn Long explained. “We found out it was Tails and Tales and were excited about that.
“We were able to purchase a bunch of book about animals and sea life. So, it’s a combination of a bunch of different stories, a bunch of fiction, a bunch of non-fiction.”
All participants will be eligible to win giveaways and will be entered to win one of 10+ prize baskets.
Registration is now open, and anyone can register by going to sgclibreads.readsquared.com or by downloading the READsquared application, or app, for short. For every minute read and book completed participants will earn points, and those points will be redeemed for prizes.
The program maxes out with a total of 2500 points. It runs through August 21.
“Now that we’re hopeful that the pandemic is kind of in the rearview mirror, we’re wanting to do more programming,” Long said. “Last year it was very much online only no in-person programming or anything.
“We just now, in May, resumed in-person programing.”
“What we did last year, as a result of the pandemic was to get a program called READsquared, which is done on your phone, or online,” Long continued. “You’ll get a point for every minute read and five points for every book completed.”
The READsquared app has a calendar of events.
“Whenever you sign up for summer reading you’ll actually be able to see a calendar of all the programs that are going on,” Long said.
Many ongoing programs are being stirred into the collective pot of the summer reading program.
“We’re kind of morphing those into the theme that we have,” Long said. “We have a Lego Club we do the last Sunday of every month. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we’re going to do the Lego Club, only it’s going to be dinosaurs and lizards, with that theme. So we’re excited for stuff like that.”
Just being able to do live events is stimulating.
“Honestly, we’re just excited in general to get the programs back and going,” Long said. “Most of our programs have been very well-attended. Some didn’t get a whole lot of people, but I think some of it was, May in general, was just a busy month for everybody.
“We’re hopeful that, coming into June, we’ll see more people coming into the program and we’re hopeful that we’ll start promoting it throughout the community a little bit better. We’re a small staff … we’re just running around like chickens with our heads cut off, sometimes.”
Patrons who register for the summer reading program can pick up their summer reading bag full of information and resources.
The community is also invited to attend the Library’s Summer Reading Kickoff on June 12 . Starting at 11 a.m., the community can not only learn about and register for summer reading, but will also be able to meet Bruce the Bear, participate in hands on STEM activities, and learn more about organizations including Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary, Imagination Library, 4-H and D.A.R.E.
Prizes will be drawn throughout the day and books checked out to them will qualify for freebies as well.
Keeping young people reading during the summer is important.
“The research is out there that you have a lot of students fall behind … you know, the summer slump,” Long said. “It’s found that if kids participate in programs like ours, the slump is not nearly as bad. Even if you just read about 20 minutes a day, we’re just trying to get it out there that kids can enjoy reading and earn prizes while they do it.”
Many companies and individuals have donated prizes.
“We’re really proud and excited that we’ve had a lot of community support,” Long said. “From coupons and gift certificates to local businesses, all the way to full baskets for our raffle, we are very excited to have the support of our community this year.”