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This year’s Summer Reading program is up and running at the Hruska Memorial Public Library in David City, and Children’s Librarian Lucy Watts is confident it’s bigger and better than ever.

“We have about 150 kids signed up for summer reading this year,” Watts said of participating children heading into eighth grade and younger. “And I think that is the most we have ever had signed up before.”

And that is a great deal because ultimately, the goal of the Summer Reading Program is to ensure that children of all ages are becoming more familiar with their local library and nurturing their minds during June and July when they are out of school.

Library Director Kay Schmid noted how the program – at least for the 30 years she has been affiliated with the library – has been a great outlet for area youth.

“It used to be the only game in town - that was what you did, you went to the Summer Reading program at the library,” Schmid said. “And it has fluctuated throughout the years with all the things kids can do now in the summer, and we are glad to see those number increasing again.”

Those participating in the Summer Reading Program can read e-books, hard copy books, magazines, newspapers or baby books to their siblings.

“They can literally read anything,” Watts said. “I don’t care if they read street signs, I just want them to read. Read magazines or newspapers, just read everything.”

Those interested are still able to sign up for the program by swinging by the downtown location at 399 N. Fifth St. All participants who read 1,000 minutes – which equates to about 15 minutes daily through the end of July – will be able to win a one-way ticket to a pool bash being held at the David City Pool.

Additionally, those logging hours will have the opportunity at the end of the campaign to win a few fun prizes.

“They can fill out a reading log, and as they read for every hour they can get a ticket to our Summer Reading Shop,” Watts said. “That is (during) the last two weeks of July that we open the Summer Reading Shop, and it kind of works like a Chuck E. Cheese sort of thing, where different prizes are worth different ticket amounts.

“So if you read a ton you could get a ton of different prizes, and if you read a little you might get one or two prizes.”

While there isn’t an actual Summer Reading program for young adults and adults, there is still fun to be had. Those interested can swing by the library and learn more about participating in Reading Bingo.

“They do it on their own – fill it out on their own – and then at the end of summer they can bring it back in for a variety of prizes.”

While reading and absorbing knowledge is a key aspect of the program, Watts said just having some good old fashioned fun is paramount. Each week, a variety of events and activities will be held in addition to just reading. A full list of June and July activities can be acquired by stopping by the library.

Some of the highlights include stops from magician Jeff Quinn, movie days and representatives of Monroe’s Horn T Zoo bringing an assortment of animals.

Offering a variety of activities gets kids through the library’s doors, Watts said.

“I love seeing that more and more kids are interested in what’s going on at the library,” Watts said. “We kind of changed the structure of it (summer reading) during the past couple of years, where you aren’t really sitting there like you’re in class. It’s doing more activities and having special people coming in presenting things.”

Watts, who has been serving in her current role for about four years, said summer reading is always one of the highlights of her job.

“I love meeting all of the kids in the town,” she said. “They all have their own unique personalities and are a lot of fun, they all bring something different to the program. And I get to watch them make friends with new people that they didn’t know before, and it’s just great to see that.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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