> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Similarly structured to Charlestown-Clark County, the Jeffersonville Township Public Library also offers kids and teenagers programs that will reward their reading. Between the Jeffersonville and Clarksville branches, more than 500 children have signed up so far this year. Registration continues up until the last weeks of July, the time when the program ends.
Lori Morgan, public service manager for the library, said participants who earn 10 points by reading different books receive a backpack filled with numerous coupons and gift certificates from sponsors including local restaurants, the Frazier History Museum and Squire Boone Caverns. After obtaining the backpack, children may earn entry forms for the chance to win larger prizes.
“Kids need to be reading over the summer in order to keep up with their reading skills for when they do start back to school,” Morgan said. “Just read something and have a good time with it. Read something that you’ve wanted to read or read something that you’ve read before that was your favorite book. The whole point is to have fun but to still read over the summer months to keep those skills up.”
Children also will have other opportunities to learn through different activities that the library will sponsor all summer long. Puppet shows, story times, game days and even a zombie prom for teens have been scheduled.
Literary character Junie B. Jones will perform live as her Stupid Smelly Bus Tour arrives at the Jeffersonville branch at 3 p.m. Monday. In cooperation with Carmichael’s Bookstore, Jeffersonville will be one of the only 15 cities hosting the red-headed wonder. Once again, all programs are free and open to the public.
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library also has begun its annual reading program. NA-FC library children’s manager Abby Johnson said registration continues over the summer. Participants who read the required amount may turn in their log for a variety of prizes.
“We’ve had a really great response from the kids. We normally have over 2,000 children that participate,” Johnson said. “It’s just so great to see so many kids excited about reading and coming to see us at the library. It’s a really wonderful thing.”
For the past four years, sixth-grade Highland Hills’ student Maggie Oliver has participated in the NA-FC library’s summer activities. She said she doesn’t necessarily read the books just to obtain the rewards.
“I don’t really go for the prizes. I just like to challenge myself. It just keeps your mind active and you don’t just sit around all day watching TV,” Oliver said.
To supplement the reading program, the library offers different craft activities, story times and other special opportunities and presentations. One such club, Guys Read, aims to motivate boys to read more. Participants will not only discuss preselected books, but will be able to video chat with the books’ authors as well. Girls, of course, are also welcome to attend.
“We offer these programs because we know there are a lot of kids that maybe don’t have a lot to do over the summer,” Johnson said. “We want to have something fun for them to do where they can come and get together with their friends and just have a good time.
Thankful for the support of businesses and organizations in the community, each representative from the different libraries offered appreciation to all those who have helped make the reading programs a success.
“We have awesome sponsors. We could not do the summer reading club without our local community,” Beckman said.
“We really have a great partnership with our local schools and local organization. It’s really helped us get the word out and helped the kids get excited about it,” Johnson said. “We really appreciate those partnerships. We all have the same goals here. We want the kids to keep reading. We want them to have fun this summer.
“Those partnerships go a long way toward making that happen.”