Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Choices Add to Reading ; Libraries Adding Contests, Prizes to Summer Programs

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Choices Add to Reading ; Libraries Adding Contests, Prizes to Summer Programs

Article excerpt

Tri-State libraries are cranking up their summer reading programs - and the programs and prizes aren't just for schoolkids. Summer reading programs began in the 1890s as a way to encourage children to read and use the library during summer break from school, according to the American Library Association. Over the years, many libraries have added offerings for both preschoolers and adults.

The Alexandrian Public Library in Mount Vernon, Indiana, kicked off its summer program Wednesday with a science carnival. It, and many other area libraries, is using a science-themed program, "Fizz, Boom, Read!"

Anne Cottrell, the library's head of youth services, said the Alexandrian has a summer's worth of activities planned.

Most of the programs are geared toward youth, including a "Grossology 101" program during which kids will make fake snot and snack on "kitty litter" cake.

But there are some adult and all-ages programs, too, and both kids and adults can read for a chance at prizes.

"I think it's going to be a fun summer," Cottrell said. The library's goal is to draw 1,000 participants.

While most of the library's summer reading participants are children, Cottrell said, it also draws 200 to 300 adults and 100 to 200 teens a year.

"It really has been embraced by all the age ranges, which is really gratifying."

In terms of size, the granddaddy of all summer reading programs is offered by Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.

Last year, EVPL says, almost 10,000 people - about a third of them adults - participated in its summer reading program.

EVPL has made some changes to this year's program, with the goal of making it simpler and easier to join.

There won't be a huge kickoff event at Central Library, as in years past. And the children's, adult and youth programs are much more similar to each other than they have been.

"For a family that wanted to do this together and get everyone involved, it could be pretty confusing," said EVPL spokeswoman Amy Mangold. …

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