Summer reading program was a hit

Published 8:45 am Friday, August 18, 2023


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 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 earned a free prize book and had a chance to win one of the prize bundles that included art packs, a portable record player, LEGO sets, a kayak, a family pass to Shaker Village, a coffee bundle, a drone and a giant stuffed goose. The Beanstack app encourages families to participate together, and provided an easy way to log reading progress and register to win prizes.

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The theme for the summer was “All Together Now,” and the library was decked out in summer camp-themed décor. The eight-week program surpassed the previous year’s reading participation and giveaways making it the most successful summer reading program the library has ever hosted. During the summer, 389 people registered for library cards, and over 1,100 people used Beanstack for the program. Of those who registered, 932 active readers completed the reading challenge set by the library. This year the reading challenge for all ages was to read for 10 days, allowing each participant the opportunity to complete the challenge up to six times during the summer reading program.

“The library uses summertime as an opportunity to bring out our best programs and services to capture the community’s imagination, encourage engagement with one another, and promote reading and learning,” said Kinsey Hisle, Youth Services Manager. “For kids it is important for them to continue reading outside of school so they not only learn more but also have the opportunity to fall in love with reading outside of a classroom setting. We also want parents to be reading with their families during the summer, and it is a time for any adult to reengage with reading in a new way.”

Collectively, the number of days read over the summer was 44,019, 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 3,313 new books to readers of all ages during the program this summer.

The Summer Reading Program began with a kick-off party that featured an evening of fun and games, food trucks, and inflatables. That day over 800 people stopped by to pick up a Book Buddy plushie, play games, sign up for a library card, and learn about the summer events.

Over the course of the summer, the library hosted more than 100 free events, including Sound Explorers, Mr. Molecule, Appalachian Dance, a petting zoo, karate and yoga lessons, STEM and crafting activities, live animal events, and outdoor movie nights. “We see our programs as opportunities to build fellowship together and try new things you might not otherwise have explored,” said Hisle. “For example, we had a huge interest in our Karate for Kids, Yoga for Kids, and Move Sing Play program series by kids who wanted to give karate, yoga, and music a try that had never had the opportunity to do so before.”

Hisle went on to share a few anecdotes from the summer, including one about a young boy who, upon leaving a session of Karate for Kids exclaimed, “This is the best day of my life!” She shared another story about a boy who won the giant stuffed goose grand prize. He said he had been wanting the goose ever since library staff visited his school at the beginning of May, so he read every day this summer to try to win. His hard work and dedication definitely paid off.

Evening and weekend events were held at the library, and special Thursday FunDay performances were held weekly at the Jennie Rogers Community Center (JRCC) in Danville in June, and Gravely Hall Performing Arts Center at Danville High School in July. These larger venues allowed for more people to attend library-sponsored events. In addition, ASL interpretation was offered at all of the Thursday morning performances.

These large events provided fun, free activities for friends to meet up and enjoy them together. New friendships were also formed at some of the events. Hisle shared that some families who came to Storytime every week now socialize outside the library as well. Adults and kids have grown very close friendships. Teens, who often are being pulled in many different directions, stayed late after programs to talk to library staff about how much fun they had.

The library also hosted Starlight Movie Nights, a family-friendly outdoor movie series that included pre-show games and free popcorn. This weekly event drew new people to the library, which was another goal of the summer program. The outdoor movie series was one of Hisle’s favorite events. “I love the outdoor movie nights. They are a lot of work for staff but so rewarding when you see families and friends gathering together,” said Hisle. “There is just something special when you sit under the stars and all enjoy a movie together. Kids came dressed up for several movies with their favorite characters. Adults came with friends or on date nights to spend time together. The weekly outdoor movies are something we can only do in the summer which makes it feel like a special event we get to host for our community.”

Adult Services Manager Christina Farrell, who joined the library staff in the spring, was thrilled with how adults responded to the summer program. “It has been great to see so many adults learn that Summer Reading is for all ages — even adults,” said Farrell. “I have loved interacting with the community while they enjoy the programs that the library has been able to offer.”

Library staff recognize that while not everyone can make it to the library to check out materials, it shouldn’t stop them from participating. During the summer, the library’s outreach team brought the Bookmobile to various events in the community, including Thursday FunDays. Outreach had 884 people visit the Bookmobile in June and July, and had 730 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.

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 who helped turn program planning dreams into reality while providing countless hours of volunteer work. The library would like to thank program sponsors Friends of the Library and Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, and program partners Danville-Boyle County Parks & Recreation, Danville Schools – Gravely Hall Performing Arts Center, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, and Scout Troop 119 for their generous support.

Pulling off a successful summer reading program is a team effort. 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. A huge thanks also goes to Loren Arth, Allen Arth, Libby McWhorter, Jana Oliver, Kathy Phillips and Jennifer Schroeder for using their artistic talents and creativity to transform the library into the perfect backdrop for the summer reading program.

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 The library is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m.–8 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  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 West Broadway in Danville.