Around 150 preschool through high school students signed up to participate in the Cassville Branch Library's summer reading program this year. The local library also attracted over 1,000 participants to its special reading programs in June and July.
"We had a successful summer," said Verna Fry, children's coordinator. "It went really fast, but overall it turned out very well."
Participants had the opportunity to set individual reading goals for the summer. Readers used minutes, numbers of books and numbers of pages to reach their summer goals.
"They were allowed to document their reading however they wanted," said Fry. "They will turn in their reading sheets this week."
On Thursday, the library will hold reward parties for summer reading participants. The preschool program will be held at 10:30 a.m. and the regular summer program will be offered at 1:30 p.m.
For the first time, the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library District offered a special universal rewards program this year. Participants have the opportunity to receive special age-appropriate gifts that display the "Dream Big, Read" logo.
The Cassville Branch Library has also held drawings for special prizes donated by area businesses and organizations. The local library will hold its final drawings this Thursday.
In addition to reading books and earning prizes, participants had the opportunity to attend around two dozen special programs at the library this summer. Fry said that the programs attracted those signed up for summer reading and other area community members.
"Our first program, the opening program, DJ Edwards Magic 101 attracted the biggest crowd," said Fry. "It was a good show.
"Kent Williams' science show was also a good one," said Fry. "He blew things up and the kids squealed and hollered and got wet. He was a comedian at the same time. They really enjoyed that one."
Fry conducted two of the summer reading programs. She served as the presenter for the preschool Night Night program and the preschool Night Owls program. Children enjoyed songs, dancing, stories, snacks and crafts during the programs.
In addition to the upcoming rewards party, participants had the opportunity to celebrate the completion of the summer reading program with a pool party sponsored by the Cassville Friends of the Library. Around 75 participants attended the event last week.
"The ones who were there really liked it," said Fry. "When they blew the whistle and the kids wrapped up in their towels to go home, you could tell they were just really tired."
As the summer reading program concludes, the Cassville Branch Library staff is gearing up for its fall programs. Fry will add an afternoon preschool program this year. The library is also considering offering a monthly Saturday preschool program.
"The big reason we offer the summer reading program is so that the kids continue to read and learn through the summer and don't let those skills get rusty," said Fry. "Hopefully, we present things in a fun way for them to learn that is not like school.
"Cheryl (Williams, branch supervisor) was a great help to me this summer since it was my first summer serving as children's coordinator," added Fry.
The following local businesses and individuals provided gifts, funds and in-kind donations for this year's summer reading program: Grand Country Music Hall; Family Fun Factory; Barry Electric; Dickerson Park Zoo; Allerte; Mary Hannigan; Jacquie Howell, of the University of Missouri Extension; the Cassville Democrat; Ted Keller; Philip Van Voorst; All Points Recycling; Heno Head; Kent Williams; Ronald McDonald; Willis Insurance; State Farm and Bob Bishop; Eagle Falcon Broadcasting; Angel and Company; Ann Taggart; Security Abstract; Security Bank; Cassville YMCA; the City of Cassville Aquatic Center; Frisco Jack; Runnels Chiropractic; Lavern Moore; Jane Severson; Latco; Freedom Bank; Hutchens Construction; Casey's General Store; and Papa Vito's.
"I would like to thank the Friends of the Library and the local sponsors," said Cheryl Williams. "Without their support, we wouldn't be able to provide this program."
Williams said she hopes the summer reading program and other library programs help community members learn about the assortment of resources available at the local library.
"September is National Library Card Month," said Williams. "I was reading some of the promotional information and one that jumped out said that the library card is one of the most important school supplies students can have.
"We have research tools, all kinds of readiness testing, wireless services and computers," said Williams. "I'm amazed that the people who live in the Cassville district know so little about what we have.
"We are not always the first place they think of to go to for information, but we should be," said Williams. "The library is supported by taxes and people should know that they get a big bang for their buck when it comes to the library."
For more information on the Cassville Branch Library and reading programs, call 847-2121.