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Summer Reading goes digital

BCPL

News release

Each summer, the Boyle County Public Library offers an 8-week literacy program for all ages that includes reading challenges, prizes, and fun programs to attend. In 2020 the summer reading program will return in a new way to reach our community at home. 

This year, the summer reading program is going digital! The library is using the online platform called Beanstack to track reading progress, and to host challenges, book reviews, prize drawings, and more. 

“Beanstack is an easy-to-use, dynamic software that gamifies reading, making it very appealing to young readers by unlocking fun badges as kids log their reading. One feature that I really like is the ability to scan the ISBN of a book to quickly log it in Beanstack. Super handy!” says Young Adult Services Librarian Brittany Smith.

Staff are excited to make the best of the #HealthyatHome initiative by introducing this new way of participating in summer reading. “I feel this is a good time to introduce Beanstack to our public. It is something new and exciting for everyone, especially with what is going on now,” says Children’s Librarian Libby McWhorter. 

“I am excited to see the innovation from our staff in creating a virtual summer reading program. We are living through unprecedented times, and it’s encouraging to see all of the flexibility, creativity, and adaptation at work in a COVID-19 world. You have heard of the phrase, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’ I think we’re adapting in ways that will make this a stronger program in years to come.” says Public Services Librarian Caleb Conover.

All ages can register on Beanstack and find a challenge for their age group. After reading enough to complete the challenge, participants will win a free book prize of their choice from the library’s prize selection, plus raffle tickets to enter grand prize drawings. Grand prizes for all specific age-group challenges will include a new tablet: Leapfrog for the youngest children and Fire HD 10 tablets for kids, tweens, teens, and adults. Kids (ages 0-8) will need to read five chapter books or 20 picture books to complete their challenge and earn their prizes this summer. 

The older age groups for youth and adults will be challenged to read for 10 days this summer to earn their prize rewards. 

Outreach Services Associate Dana Benton said, “Though quarantine has changed the way we interact, using Beanstack means I will get to maintain contact with those I normally serve by communicating with them about the opportunities of our summer reading program.” She added, “The challenges we provide this year gives us all something to look forward to, such as earning digital badges and having a chance to win the grand prize.”

 

The theme of the summer program this year is “Imagine Your Story,” to encourage readers to foster creativity and ingenuity through fantasy. 

“Especially right now, I think it’s good to have these fantasy worlds you can explore and become a part of,” says Youth Services Assistant Amber Wesley. “I’m using this year’s theme as a chance to explore new and creative online programs for our patrons!” 

The summer program’s activities will also be going digital so the community can enjoy engaging programming while maintaining safer physical distancing. Virtual programs will be hosted from the library’s website BoylePubLib.org and social media. Participants can subscribe to the library’s YouTube channel named Boyle County Public Library, and follow their Facebook pages, The Boyle County Public Library and Boyle County Public Library Children’s Programming. Programs will include activities for all ages to enjoy, including virtual performers, art classes, DIY activities, Minecraft, Dungeons & Dragons, and more.

“Summer reading keeps up a child’s reading skills,” says McWhorter. “Over the years parents have said that it brought up their child’s reading score, and if they didn’t read during the summer their reading score went down.” 

She explains that during the summer kids can read what they want for prizes. “This is the time a child may find a new series that clicks and they begin to want to read even more,” says McWhorter.

Summer reading may have started out as a program just for kids, but it now includes the entire community of any age. “This is a chance for all of us, across Boyle County, to join other communities around the world in sharing our love of reading, writing, storytelling, and expressing imagination. Summer Reading is for all ages and offers something for everyone, whether it is gathering for a virtual program, finding the incentive to read your first book of the year, or continuing the reading habit you already have,” says Conover.

Participation in the Summer Reading Program through Beanstack begins on June 1, but patrons can join the program any time from June 1 to July 31. All challenges and programs are free and available to the public. Go to BoylePubLib.org/SummerReading to learn more and to register for Beanstack on June 1.

Anyone needing assistance may contact the library Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. via email at library@boylepublib.org, or via Facebook Messenger at facebook.com/boylepublib. Patrons can also reach specific departments via the library’s website using the dropdown menu available on boylepublib.org/contact-us.