Summer Reading Club numbers jump

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

114 more programs at libraries draw 5,020 more participants

The 2016 Summer Reading Program offered by the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library proved quite successful, drawing large numbers of participants for programs and activities.

According to Janea Coker, program coordinator, branches offered 354 programs, attended by 13,020 people, compared to 240 programs in 2015 attended by more than 8,000 participants. These included 121 children's programs, attended by 5,438 children, 10 teen programs and 46 for adults. There were 167 passive programs, particularly popular in smaller branches.

Each branch had a reading competition. Mt. Vernon and Eagle Rock branches had the most books read in those contests. As rewards, the Mt. Vernon branch offered the Worlds of Wildlife and animal Olympics programs. Eagle Rock offered a program with an inflatable house and a slide. Coker noted some of the smaller branches encouraged children to compete against themselves as well as other branches. Not as many people signed up for the contests, but Coker observed those who did read much more.

The library surveyed reading event participants. Of the 698 responses entered, 457, or 72 percent, signed up for the Summer Reading Club. Of those, almost 35 percent said they were first-time participants. For general benefits, participants reported:

* 88 percent said their enjoyment of reading increased

* 66 percent reported socializing increased

* 55 percent reported their children's verbalization increased

* 67 percent reported their child's reading skill improved

* 82 percent reported an increase in reading amount

* 85 percent reported increased knowledge on a specific subject

* 99 percent reported they would continue to visit the library

Coker said one family went on vacation but came back early because their children wanted to attend one of the Summer Reading Club programs.

Overall sign-up for the Summer Reading Program dropped from 1,344 customers in 2015. Reports from around the state reflected overall dips statewide. Online registration increased.

Director Gina Milburn told her board that the requirements for the Summer Reading Grant changed since last year. The final report took 25 pages, compared to 10 a year ago. Staff discussed possible revisions in the program due to participation declines and prohibitive paperwork requirements for the grant.

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