New prizes were a hit with kids in St. Thomas Public Li­brary’s Sum­mer Read­ing Club.

Sum­mer read­ing pro­gram at li­brary sees big in­crease in 2017

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - LOUIS PIN TIMES-JOUR­NAL

It was prob­a­bly the but­tons. That’s the only an­swer Crystal Jef­fery can come up with. The chil­dren and teen co-or­di­na­tor with the St. Thomas Public Li­brary just helped wrap up the an­nual TD Sum­mer Read­ing Club, and found sig­nif­i­cantly more kids vis­ited the li­brary this year than last. They read more books, too. “We had a but­ton maker this year,” Jef­fery said. “Kids were chal­lenged to com­plete dif­fer­ent goals to get dif­fer­ent but­tons, like [bring in] your read­ing log three times … the par­ents loved it too.”

The read­ing club started July 3 and went to Au­gust 23. Dur­ing that time 638 chil­dren signed up, tak­ing books out and par­tic­i­pat­ing in li­brary events. Though kids of any age were en­cour­aged to read most of the ones who signed up were be­tween 6 and 10 year old.

In to­tal they read more than 6,000 books — roughly 1,700 more than last sum­mer.

“It was a very suc­cess­ful year,” Jef­fery said. “We were sur­prised with how many kids came out and were ex­cited about it … we had a lit­tle poster up in the depart­ment with the tally of the fi­nal num­ber (of books read) so kids were re­ally ex­cited to come in and see that.”

“One of the most pop­u­lar chap­ter books this sum­mer was Cap­tain Un­der­pants,” Jef­fery added. “And that’s just be­cause of the movie … that one was highly re­quested.”

Stu­dents are en­cour­aged to keep their minds ac­tive over the sum­mer. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in pro­grams like the li­brary’s read­ing club is a good way for them to re­tain what they learn over the school year.

It also makes the tran­si­tion back to school eas­ier, says Jef­fery. The li­brary doesn’t specif­i­cally part­ner with the schools for the pro­gram but does send them post­cards in June, to re­mind kids to sign up.

“We’re try­ing to en­cour­age read­ing through­out the sum­mer so they keep it up when they re­turn to school in Septem­ber,” Jef­fery said. “And a lot of the kids, they get a lit­tle read­ing log when they sign up, and they keep track of all the books that they’ve read … in the fall, a lot of kids are ex­cited to bring it in and show their teacher how much they’ve been read­ing.”

The goal isn’t just to get kids read­ing, but to have them learn­ing as well. But­tons were given out to chil­dren who par­tic­i­pated in li­brary events and who com­pleted tasks on­line, lit­tle ways for them to branch out with their in­ter­ests.

As long as they’re read­ing and learn­ing, that’s what mat­ters.

“It’s any­thing that they’re read­ing at home,” Jef­fery said. “So even if they’re read­ing one of the chil­dren’s mag­a­zines, that counts. Or if they’ve bor­rowed an au­dio­book and their lis­ten­ing to that in their car on a road trip, that counts in their read­ing log too … there’s lots of dif­fer­ent ways to get those books read.”

The li­brary also ran craft pro­grams over the sum­mer, as well as out­reach ini­tia­tives to touch base with stu­dents who might not be able to make it to the li­brary.

Next year, they hope more kids will be en­cour­aged to come out, to read and to earn a few more but­tons.

“We’re al­ready talk­ing about what we’re go­ing to do with it next year,” Jef­fery said, laugh­ing.

LOUIS PIN /TIMES-JOUR­NAL

Noah Van Bonn, left and Nathan Moule use com­put­ers at the St. Thomas Public Li­brary. More than 630 stu­dents took part in the li­braryís TD Sum­mer Read­ing Club this sum­mer, a jump from last yearís pro­gram.

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