Library expands reading program

This summer, taking the kids to a museum, visiting a state park or doing a science experiment can help earn points toward a new tablet or a pool party.

The Johnson County Public Library’s summer reading program has been a staple for decades. But this year, part of the program has been revamped to reward people of all ages for doing just about anything that will expand their mind.

On Your Mark, Get Set … Read! kicks off Monday. And library patrons aren’t rewarded for just reading: doing a Create and Discover activity, such as a scavenger hunt, is worth 30 minutes of reading time.

Libraries aren’t just a place for families to check out books and leave, library officials said. They are meant to serve families and inspire all types of learning, reading and otherwise.

“It makes sure everyone has the opportunity to learn over the summer,” said Jennifer Baltz, library marketing and communications manager.

After seeing multiple studies that showed students lost some of what they learned in school during the summer, library officials decided they wanted their program to help combat summer learning loss, Baltz said.

And reading levels weren’t the only subject impacted by two months off of school, library director Lisa Lintner said.

Students who didn’t spend the summer learning saw slips in math and writing, too, she said.

“They go back to school not as well off as they left it,” she said.

Studies also showed that when students participated in cultural events during the summer, such as going to a museum or hiking on a nature walk, that slowed summer learning loss, prompting the library to include those activities in the summer learning program, too.

Park and museum passes became available for check out at the library in the last year. Library officials want to encourage families to utilize those, and also help students whose families may not have the resources to send them to camp or go to museums, Lintner said.

“The library is always looking at ways to be a value to those who live here,” she said.

For years, library summer reading programs were about checking out books and encouraging students to read, she said.

But recently, summer learning programs that encourage students to learn however they can have been popular with libraries nationwide, Lintner said.

“Libraries were just about books for so many years,” Lintner said.

Part of getting students engaged in the summer program is fostering a friendly competition between the schools, Baltz said. Whichever school has the highest percentage of participation will earn a prize at the beginning of the school year.

Prizes also will be awarded to everyone who participates in the summer learning program.

Students and adults can earn points toward prizes, such as coupons to local businesses or small toys. But larger prizes are also up for grabs, such as a new tablet and a private pool party at the Franklin Family Aquatic Center.

Families who register early, between Tuesday and Sunday, also can be entered to win tickets to Kings Island.

If you go

What: The Water Show: Summer Learning Kick-Off Party for the Johnson County Public Library.

When: 4 to 5 p.m. June 6 at the White River Branch; 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 6 at the Trafalgar Branch; 4 to 5 p.m. June 7 at the Clark-Pleasant Branch; 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 7 at the Franklin branch. 

Cost: Free

To register: Visit learning

Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.