Library’s Summer Reading Program a big success
Published 11:02 am Friday, August 19, 2022
Every summer the Boyle County Public Library provides the community with an exciting Summer Reading Program, complete with reading prizes, fun activities, and special events. This year the program was held in-person at the library and at off-site locations while continuing to utilize the Beanstack website and app to track reading progress.
Through Beanstack participants could earn virtual badges, free books, and raffle tickets for prize bundles. Every participant who completed the reading challenge had a chance to win one of the prize bundles, which included art packs, board games, LEGO sets, toddler toys, a toolbox, family passes to Shaker Village, a coffee bundle, a drone, and a giant stuffed penguin. The Beanstack app encouraged families to participate together, and provided an easy way to log reading progress and register to win prizes.
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The return to a fully in-person summer program was a welcome change after two years of uncertainty. The theme for the summer was “Oceans of Possibilities,” and the program surpassed the previous year’s reading participation and giveaways making it the most successful summer reading program the library has ever hosted. Over 930 people used Beanstack this summer for the program. Of those who registered, 618 active readers completed the reading challenge set by the library. This year the reading challenge for all ages was to read for 10 days. Collectively, the number of days read over the summer was 26,930, which set a new record of reading by participants. There was also a new record set for the number of prize books given away, which meant participants were able to add more new books to their homes.
In total, the library gave away 1,936 new books to readers of all ages during the program this summer.
The Summer Reading Program began with a kick-off event in early June that featured an evening of fun and games, food trucks, plus live music. That day hundreds of people stopped by to pick up a Book Buddy plushie, play the inflatable games, meet and take photos with fairytale princesses, and sign up for a library card.
Over the course of the summer, the library hosted 100 events, including Silly Safari, Sound Explorers, Tember’s Tales, Kentucky Shakespeare, a petting zoo, yoga lessons for kids, STEM and crafting activities, magic shows, and live animal events. Weekly storytimes were held for young patrons, and accompanying storytime videos with ASL interpretation were posted to the library’s YouTube channel.
Evening and weekend events were held at the library, and special performances were held weekly at the Jennie Rogers Community Center (JRCC) in Danville. The larger venue at JRCC allowed for more people to attend library-sponsored events than ever before. In addition, ASL interpretation was offered at all of the Thursday morning events at JRCC. Many families shared with library staff that having so many days and times to choose from made it possible for them to participate in programs and in the reading challenge.
“One of the goals of the summer was access, and we got that in spades due to the Jennie Rogers partnership,” said Assistant Library Director Colleen Hall. Danville-Boyle County Parks & Recreation provided free use of the facility for library events. “So many additional people had access there because of that space. There were daycare and summer camp groups, including Kentucky School for the Deaf, many of whom could only participate this year because we had the space to invite them,” said Hall.
Hall believes that this exposure led to additional overall participation in the program as a whole. “Having the Bookmobile there weekly was also a huge contributing factor, giving the kids ready access to Sweet Reads, which was very well used. One boy told us after the Shakespeare program that it was the first time he had seen a live play and he really enjoyed it. That captures the essence of why we do this work,” said Hall.
During the summer, the library’s outreach team brought the Bookmobile to various events in the community, including Thursday FunDays at JRCC. Outreach had 978 people visit the Bookmobile in June and July, and had 1,091 books borrowed from Sweet Reads, a collection that allows patrons to borrow materials without a library card. With expanded borrowing options available through this collection, many new patrons were able to utilize the Bookmobile and participate in Summer Reading.
New this year to the summer line up was the family-friendly outdoor movie series that included pre-show games and food vendors. The Heart of Danville provided the giant outdoor movie screen which made the series possible. That weekly event drew new people to the library, which was another goal of the summer program.
“We are so grateful to Danville-Boyle County Parks & Recreation and to the Heart of Danville for their support of two major additions to the Summer Reading Program,” said Library Director Georgia de Araujo. “From Parks & Rec, being able to have our Thursday morning special events in the Jennie Rogers Community Center meant that hundreds more people could participate. From Heart of Danville, having the use of the huge outdoor movie screen really made Starlight Movie Night a reality.”
A significant donation from Corning Incorporated Foundation allowed the library to provide prize books for the much larger than anticipated reading challenge completion rate this summer. On numerous occasions, librarians had to reorder prize books to keep pace with demand.
The Summer Reading Program is the library’s biggest multi-generational program series of the year. The library staff are very thankful for the Friends of the Library (FOTL) who are major financial contributors to the Summer Reading Program and helped turn program planning dreams into reality. The library would like to thank all of its program sponsors including the Friends of the Library, Danville-Boyle County Parks & Recreation, Heart of Danville, and Corning Incorporated Foundation. The library would also like to thank Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Dry Stack Coffee Co., and The Hub Coffee House & Café for their generous support and prize contributions.
Special thanks go to Deb Cullen, FOTL President, and Jennifer Schroeder, BCPL Public Services Manager, for their combined efforts in coordinating the FOTL volunteers who spent countless hours assisting library staff at large events all summer long. “Summer reading is a team sport and none of this would have been possible without the very hard work of all of the staff. Huge thanks are due to one and all for pulling it off,” said Hall.
De Araujo echoed Hall’s sentiments. “Everyone on the library staff played a part in 2022 being our most successful Summer Reading program ever. The coordination required to manage 100 events in 60 days while still keeping the regular functions of the library going can only happen when everyone cares and steps up where they are needed,” de Araujo said.
She went on to say that the level of family participation in this year’s Summer Reading program was impressive. “It wasn’t something limited to children. Families participated together all summer long. One of the most important things a parent can do for their school-aged child is to model reading as something that is fun, and is an enjoyable pastime,” de Araujo said.
The library is accessible year-round, and is committed to providing free, high quality programs, materials, and services to the community. Library staff will continue to promote literacy through visits to schools and daycares, public bookmobile stops, and participation at community events. Now that summer is over and the school year has begun, librarians are gearing up for Library Card Sign-up Month in September and are in the process of planning fall programs and activities for library patrons.
Information about library resources and all upcoming events can be found online at BoylePubLib.org. The library is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM; Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 AM – 8:00 PM; and Saturday from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Chat with library staff using the live chat service on the library’s website or by texting (859)-545-8398.
The Boyle County Public Library serves the city of Danville and the surrounding communities, and is actively committed to enriching the lives of its patrons. The library is located at 307 W. Broadway in Danville.