Library summer reading program open to kids and adults

Mia Hendrickson, a Week 3 Read for the Win book report winner, poses with her prize in front of her displayed book report. Mia said "I love to read!" (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

Mia Hendrickson, a Week 3 Read for the Win book report winner, poses with her prize in front of her displayed book report. Mia said “I love to read!” (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

O’FALLON – Summer is the perfect time to relax and read as many books as possible. The summer reading programs at the O’Fallon Public Library are in full swing, but it’s not to late to get signed up for any of the age groups, which are children, teens, and adults.

Youth Services Manager Teri Rankin is excited about the beginning of the Children’s Summer Reading Program, titled “Read for the Win,” and based on the Summer Olympics. Three weeks in, Rankin says they have over 800 participants. Children can register online or in the library, and receive a welcome bag, which includes their reading log, schedule of events, and more. Each week, children bring their log to the library to be stamped by a children’s librarian. Then they may receive weekly reading prizes like stickers, seashells, and coupons to local business. Not going to be in town for a week? Not a problem! This year, the library is allowing children to remotely log their progress up to two times. “We didn’t want to punish the kids that leave for vacation,” said Rankin.

“We also have more ways to win prizes. Each week, children can complete book reports, and we choose four winners.” The winning writers receive prizes, and their reports are displayed in the glass case at the entrance to the library. There’s also a trivia and coloring contests each week, as well as craft days and several other events. Children also have the opportunity to create a sports pennant that will hang in the library. Entries must be turned in by July 17th, and winners will be chosen by August 1st.

Rankin spoke about the finale of Read for the Win, which includes Library Olympics that will be held in the library on July 16th from 10 a.m. until noon.

“We’re going to have relay races with books balanced on their heads, delivering library books in a book cart race, a race to check books in and out. It’s going to be a lot of fun for them. We’re all excited about it, too. We’ll also have popcorn, snow cones and balloons,” said Rankin.

After the finale, a book walk will be held at the Katy Cavins Center. “It’s like a cake walk, but with books. Everyone goes home with a book, and sometimes more than one. These are often new or gently used donated books that the library receives,” explained Rankin.

The teen and adult summer reading challenges are run a little differently, and entries can be submitted until midnight on July 31st. “I’d say that teens and adults aren’t as motivated by small prizes every week as kids are. Teens and adults are also often busy, so they don’t have the time to attend a bunch of special events,” said Adult Services Manager Ryan Johnson. In his third year of running the programs, Johnson is following the method that has worked best in the past.

There are three prizes for each age category. For teens, which include those in grades 8-12, there are three prizes; a $50 Amazon gift card, a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, and a $50 Wherenberg Theatre gift card. For adults, the prizes are a $50 Peel gift card, a $50 Sanctuary Salon and Spa gift card, and a $50 Fezziwig’s Marketplace gift card. When talking about how the prizes were chosen, Johnson said “The prizes for the teen program were selected by our monthly Teen Anime Club. The teens had a bunch of ideas for prizes and we chose from among their suggestions. For the adult prizes, we focused on local businesses.”

There are three ways to enter the drawings for the gift cards. The first is to make a social media post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and posters must tag the library for an entry, and also adhere to the library’s social media policy, which according to their website means “keep it clean and fun.” Posts can include things like selfies with books, pictures from the library, pictures from library events, and more. This can be done for a maximum of three entries.

The second way to enter is to attend library events. For adults, there are several to choose from, including author events, yoga, Speed Readers and many more. For teens, event choices include Teen Book Club, Teen Anime Club, and Teen Board Game Night. Each event attended counts as one entry.

The third way to enter is to write a book review between 50 and 100 words long, explaining why you love or hate the book. The library may request permission to use your review to promote the book. “From the program last year, we found that a lot of people were jazzed about having their book reviews utilized by the library. We print the reviews and insert them into actual books. We also post them to social media. This gives some authenticity and a little local flair to recommending books. Instead of reading a review from some random stranger on Amazon, the person is getting an actual review from an area resident,” said Johnson. Reviews can be turned in for a maximum three entries.

“So far we have 103 total entries between teen and adults (entries started May 31st). This already surpasses our total from all of last summer. The goal of the programs is to be non-intrusive, like I said, people are busy.  Many people are already hanging out on social media and reading books, so we created a program that could highlight and recognize those activities. Many people already attend our adult events as well. During the summer they attendees enjoy the added bonus of being entered into the drawing,” said Johnson.

To find out a full schedule of events for children, teens or adults, drop by the library to pick up a calendar, or visit ofpl.info to view the online calendar.