For 8 weeks this summer, kids flocked to the Brainerd Public Library for the Summer Reading Program "One World Many Stories." Children traveled the world this summer by exploring exotic places such as Africa and Antarctica through stories, guest speakers, crafts, music, dance, and other activities. We have seen imaginations opened to a world that TV and video games just cannot provide.
The best part of the summer was seeing the library shelves bare of books, they were all checked out and being read by kids in the community! It was an exciting time around the library as those as children ages birth to 18 pledged to read throughout the summer. The library registered more than 260 pre-readers from birth to age 5, over 540 readers from ages 5-11 and more than 150 teens for the "One World, Many Stories" program. The total was more than 950 children and teens that signed up to read. The summer of 2011 was record setting year for reading! Participants kept track of how much time they spent reading, or time they were read to, to earn prizes throughout the summer. When children in the reader category finished 2 hours they were able to come into the library for prizes. Kids could read up to 20 hours to earn up to 10 prizes donated from local businesses and donors. The kids were all awarded with a free book generously donated by Lavonne Danzl. Many children continued to read over 20 hours to go "Above and Beyond" for a chance to win 2 bikes. The teen readers also had a chance to win 2 bikes. The winners of the bikes, given by a gracious anonymous donor, are: 15 year old Colin Kroll, 12 year old Grace Pegel, 9 year old Summer Hardy and 8 year old Caleb Bugnacki.
The children recorded more than 11,000 hours of reading!! There were a total of 18 programs held throughout the summer with more than 1,100 children attending. We also had family movie day on the big screen every Saturday in June and July with new movies like "Rango" and classics like "The Wizard of Oz." A few highlights of the summer were weekly crafts from around the world, Professor Marvel the Magician and Remarkable Reptiles at the Crow Wing County Fair. The biggest hit was the passports each child made at the beginning of the summer. Each week they came to the library to have their passport stamped. Many kids were so proud to have all 7 continents inside their passport, proving they've been around the world this summer.
Next year's Summer Reading theme for children is "Dream Big - Read" and the teen theme is "Own the Night." We are already beginning to "Dream Big" about how to continue the successful reading we saw in 2011!
A big thank-you goes out to our very own Friends of the Library, our additional Summer Reading Program staff, and all of the wonderful community sponsors and partners. Thanks to Barb Dandrea and Donna Larson for dedicating your summer to volunteer for our program. Without all of you, the Summer Reading Program at the Library would not be possible.
Finally, a huge thanks to parents for getting your kids to the library and helping to keep track of the hours, reading to or with your kids and getting them engaged with books. It's this commitment that will fill our children with a lifelong love of reading. If you're a teacher you should be proud of your students and know they will ready for you in September. Remember, the young readers of today are our future!