Parents can check out books from the library, record the number of pages or hours read and exchange their efforts for coupons, pencils, paperback books and other small prizes.
Even though more people — young and old — are reading with tablets instead of paper pages, kids still love getting prizes for reading.
Today’s prizes are a bit more sophisticated, Greenwood Public Library reference librarian Sara O’Sha said. Kids still get a rush from reading, and this summer their work can score them an e-reader or Kings Island tickets.
“Reading is reading whether you’re reading a paper book or an e-book,” O’Sha said. “I don’t think there’s really a large change.”
The theme for Greenwood’s summer reading program is “It Came from GPL.” Every event, program and book is based on science fiction.
“We know our staff loves it and the community loves it,” O’Sha said.
Readers will re-enact “War of the Worlds.” Reading prizes include ray-gun toys and squirt guns, O’Sha said.
More than 1,100 children, 366 adults and 200 teens participated in the program last year.
In the first week of registration this year, 450 people signed up.
Back down to earth
Johnson County Public Library’s reading program, “Dig Into Reading,” has an archeology and geology-theme.
The program is in place at all of the country library branches and makes the biggest impact on the youngest readers, library spokeswoman Robin Martinez said.
“Children often emulate their parents, so if a child, no matter how much programming they see at the library, goes home and sees their parents aren’t reading, they won’t read,” Martinez said. “We want to make sure that the entire family — including future generations — see that it’s an important part of life.”
Martinez said studies have shown that kids can lose reading skills when they’re out of school for the summer, so another goal is to help kids keep their skills while on summer break.
She said that libraries do have to keep up with modern readership trends.
“We do have to adapt to the fact that more people are going to e-readers and e-books. I think that’s part of the reason we’ve changed to (counting) hours read instead of books read — because people are reading on e-readers.”
The library wants residents to read from the 3M Cloud, which allows them to “check out” books just like they would paper books. They’re allowed to read the book for a certain period of time and when their time expires, the book is removed from their device.
Grand prizes this year include a Kindle Fire and a PlayStation 3.
About 5,000 readers from across Johnson County participate in the program each year.
“We want anybody who is interested to feel like they can come in and take part,” Martinez said.
Emphasis on family
If you live in Edinburgh, the focus is on bees.
Readers’ names will be placed around a bee hive on the wall of the Edinburgh Wright-Hageman Public Library. Every time a resident checks out five items, their name goes around the hive, library director Cathy Ham said.
Prizes in the Bee A Reader program are tickets to Kids Commons or Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor in Columbus or Indianapolis Indians tickets and area restaurant gift certificates.
Each week, readers can get honey- and bee-themed tokens, which include honey sticks, bookbags and bookmarks.
Kids can participate in programs at the library in conjunction with the parks and recreation department, culminating with a pool and pizza party.
The program is designed to include the whole family with the emphasis on getting kids into reading.
“Reading begins at home and you need family involvement,” Hamm said. “It’s also a way of getting people into our library to learn what we have to offer.”