More than 1,000 people signed up for Jackson County Public Library’s annual Summer Reading Program in its first week.
With the theme “Every Hero Has a Story,” the program kicked off Monday and is attracting readers of all ages, said Lola Snyder, head of youth services at the Seymour Library.
“We’re really excited about the response we’ve seen this week,” Snyder said. “We had 710 first-day sign-ups, and we’re up to 1,096 people; and it’s only day four. Last year at this time we had about 800.”
A similar program is taking place at the Brownstown Public Library. It started May 26.
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Snyder said she and the library staff love the heroes theme.
“It allows us many avenues to explore,” she said. “We will be talking about superheroes from comics and movies, historical heroes with our visit from Abraham Lincoln, hometown heroes like firefighters, police officers, nurses, and we even have a hero dog visiting us.”
She encourages the public to visit the library or look online at the events calendar for upcoming activities.
“We are having some amazing programs this summer for all ages, like Movie Rewind for people in their 20s and 30s and a MINICON superhero, video game and comic book convention on July 18,” she said.
Michelle Owens, youth services specialist at the Brownstown library, said the theme is one everyone can enjoy because everyone has a hero.
“I like that the theme allows us to introduce people to various types of heroes,” she said. “Superheroes, community heroes, service animals and everyday heroes.”
Last year, 206 people registered for the reading program in Brownstown. Owens said she would like to see around 250 this year.
“Our goal is to get more people in the community reading,” she said.
She also said it’s important for students to read during the summer to maintain reading fluency required for success in school and maintain and increase their vocabulary.
“All patrons who participate will obtain a better knowledge of the resources provided by the public library, have the opportunity to discover new interests or hobbies, and we hope our patrons will discover the enjoyment of reading,” Owens added.
To sign up, you need a valid Evergreen library card, but otherwise it’s free and open to all ages, Owens said.
“Patrons can come in anytime during the program and sign up,” she said.
Besides the Brownstown and Seymour libraries, the program also is offered at JCPL branches in Crothersville and Medora and on the Discovery Bus bookmobile.
Although it’s far from new, there are some aspects of the Jackson County Public Library Summer Reading program that have changed over the years, Snyder said.
Registration is done online now at the library’s website, myjclibrary.org; and instead of collecting prizes along the way, readers receive a prize package.
Those prizes include certificates for free food from Arby’s, Chillicen, Taco Bell, Steak ’n Shake and other local restaurants, along with free tickets to area high school athletics events and Indiana Fever games, and admission to the Seymour City Pool and other places.
As they read and record their minutes or books read during the program, participants are entered to win age-appropriate grand prizes.
At Brownstown, participants age 18 or younger will receive a prize package of hero-related goodies, coupons for free food and admission to various events and venues when they complete the program by reading 700 pages.
Adults must read a total of five books, Owens said.
Misti Findley of Seymour said her three daughters signed up for the program at the Seymour Library during Monday’s special kickoff event, which featured games, activities, crafts, prizes, superheroes and food.
She said the family has made the summer reading program a tradition.
“We do it every year, and the kids are always excited about the prizes,” she said. “This year the kickoff was extra special, and my girls had so much fun. I was so impressed with the library staff and the dedication they gave to the program this year. It was super busy, and they were all still smiling and helpful. The kids loved the popcorn and cotton candy.”
On Thursday morning, Lois Bryden and her daughter, Chloe Bryden, 15, of Cortland stopped by the Seymour Library to get registered.
“We sign up every year, just to keep us reading during the summer,” Lois Bryden, a fifth-grade teacher, said. “It’s fun to be part of a bigger group of readers.”
Lois Bryden said she will read children’s books so that she can discuss them with her students during the school year. At the top of her list this summer is the Newbery Honor book “Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage.
Although they enjoy the prizes, Lois Bryden said that’s not why they do it.
Chloe Bryden said she’s always liked to read, even during the summer, and plans to continue reading “The Mortal Instruments” series by Cassandra Clare.
“I’m on the fifth book, I think,” she said. “They’re really good.”
Jennifer Alberring of Seymour, also a teacher, made sure to get herself and her boys, Adam, 4, Ethan, 8, and Trevor, 10, signed up Wednesday and then returned to the library Thursday to check out more books.
Trevor said he wanted to sign up for the program in order to win prizes.
“I like reading nonfiction books,” he said. “I’ll probably read 30 or more books this summer.”
To finish the summer reading program, readers have until July 27 for the Jackson County Public Library and July 18 for the Brownstown Library.
“It keeps them excited about reading and encourages them to read all summer,” Jennifer Alberring said of the program. “I think adults should sign up because it shows children that you think reading is important, too.”
Snyder said reading to a child, or with one, is one of the most important things an adult can do for a child.
“They are modeling behaviors they value for their children,” she said. “If they make reading an enjoyable priority, their children will as well.”
Gerald Boling of Seymour was doing just that for his grandchildren, Alanah Faucie, 4, and Phoenix Faucie, 2, on Thursday.
He said he brings the kids to the library at least once a week to read, play and check out books. He likes to pick up books to read at home.
Although they hadn’t signed up for the program yet, Boling said he planned to do it.
“It’s good for their education and to help expand their minds,” he said.
The same is true for adults, but reading also can be a way to unwind after a stressful day, Boling added.
“It relaxes me,” he said. “I can come home and get lost in a book and I forget about everything else. It also helps keep my mind sharp.”
To learn more about the summer reading program at Jackson County Public Library, visit myjclibrarysr.evanced.info/ or the library.