Blackfalds Library wraps up successful reading program

Last week, Blackfalds Library wrapped up another successful summer reading program.

PRESTO - Magician Brian Lehr performs a trick during a performance to wrap up the summer reading program at the Blackfalds Library.

PRESTO - Magician Brian Lehr performs a trick during a performance to wrap up the summer reading program at the Blackfalds Library.

Last week, Blackfalds Library wrapped up another successful summer reading program.

Each summer the Blackfalds Library, as well as other libraries across the country, partakes in a summer reading partly organized and sponsored by TD Canada Trust.

Every year, TD comes up with a theme for the program as well as some promotional materials and resources for participating libraries. Libraries then decide themselves how to adapt the theme and run their individual programs.

Themes for the summer reading program are usually quite broad, so it is easy for libraries to adapt them. This year’s theme was ‘Eureka!’

Library Manager Carley Binder said that adapted the theme of ‘Eureka!’ this year was a bit of a challenge because the Library’s lead programmer had to take a leave of absence partway through the summer.

“We’ve just kind of been winging it,” said Binder.

Binder said they have been using the ‘Eureka!’ theme as a way to explore new ideas.

She this year’s program has been perhaps only loosely tied to the theme and instead the Library has focused more on reading and getting children excited to read.

At its base, that is the purpose of the summer reading program, said Binder. She added it is important for children to read over the summer months because it helps them retain literacy skills while out of school.

Today, with so many different diversions and entertainment options available to children other than reading, there are many children who aren’t overly interested in reading. The summer reading program works against that.

“It gets them excited to read,” said Binder.

Children who sign up for the program keep a log of how much time they spend reading over the summer, with a minimum of 15 minutes a day. For every three days that are spend reading at list 15 minutes, children earn a chance to spin the library prize wheel.

Every week where children spend six days in a row reading, they can enter their name in for the grand prize draw. Binder said this year, most of the grand prizes for each age group were bicycles.

The summer reading program is designed for children 17 and under. However, Binder said the last few years Blackfalds has adapted an adult program that runs during the summer as well.

“We’ve kind of taken that on, because a lot of parents are reading to their kids,” said Binder. “So it’s to get them excited to read as well.”

Binder added the program was actually started for the benefit of young adults who had aged out of the summer reading program. Now it has grown to include parents of young children as well.

“We have a few kids who have aged out, so they are 18, 19, but it gives them a chance to still be in the program,” said Binder. “We had a few adults inquire, like our 18, 19-year-olds, who were kind of bummed that they couldn’t participate anymore so that’s what kind of started it.”

Participation in the adult program is usually between 25 and 50 adults. Binder also said the program helps keep the joy of reading alive for adults as well.

“Just because you are an adult doesn’t mean you want to win fun things,” said Binder.

This year’s summer reading program at the Blackfalds Library had 282 participants (about usual for the program) who logged a total of 323,235 minutes (5,387 hours) reading.

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