BUCKHANNON – There is a saying that “having fun is not hard when you have a library card.”
This summer, the Upshur County Public Library is opening up the fun to everyone by offering an inclusive summer reading program. UCPL Assistant Director Beth Rogers said the summer 2021 reading program is designed to be approachable and accessible for readers of all ages and abilities.
“It is designed to allow folks to participate as they want to,” Rogers said.
Rogers noted there are two options for participation, and even though the program’s official start was June 1, people are still welcome to join.
“One is to use the READsquared app, which is available on our Facebook page or by visiting http://ucplwv.readsquared.com/. Participants can sign up to participate electronically or they can come into the library and register and pick up a paper reading log.”
Rogers said participants should enjoy taking advantage of the online option because of the convenience it offers.
“The thing about the online option is, it is good for people who may be traveling over the summer and it is good for people who do not want to go into the library every week,” Rogers said. “With the online option, you can track your reading from wherever you are. Also, relatives, such as grandparents who may have their grandchildren while they are visiting, are still able to participate in the program – participation does not have to be for the entire length of the program.”
During the summer reading program, Rogers said those coming to the UCPL can find special activities that will be available for patrons including a weekly ‘I Spy’ challenge.
“The ‘I Spy’ challenge offers kids the opportunity to earn extra points for finding all of the items hidden in our display case,” Rogers said. “Also, we have Ethan Linger, who is a local magician who will be doing a show on June 10 at 11:30 a.m. We are really excited about that. We are also scheduling a storyteller toward the end of the month, and we hope to schedule some other special programs that will be popping up.”
Rogers said that students participating in the summer reading program are not required to participate in any of the events.
“All participants in the summer reading program just need to track their reading,” Rogers said. “They can register for one program point for every minute they spend reading. With 50 program points, you earn one entry into our prize basket raffle. So, it is up to program participants and parents how much or how little they want to participate.”
She said there are four program levels: the early literacy level is from birth to age 4 and includes mostly kids that are read to; the children’s program is for elementary school children aged 5 to 12; the teen program is for teens age 13 to 17; and the adult program is for those age 18 and older.
“There are different prizes for each level, but the basic principle is participants log one point for each minute of reading and at 50 points there is a prize entry,” Rogers said. “That is the same across each of our prize levels. Each program level has their own prizes.”
Rogers said the UCPL encourages folks of all ages to participate in the summer reading program which began June 1 and runs through July 1. She stressed that it’s not too late to join, even if you missed the June 1 start.
“Libraries are invested in literacy; we want people to read because reading is important,” Rogers said. “Literacy is important. Imagination is important. Exploring the world through different types of books – that is all important. Also, research shows very clearly that people – children, particularly – lose reading skills when they do not engage with them especially during the months when kids are not in school.”
“There is a documented phenomenon called the ‘summer slide’ where children lose skills because they are not always reading or read to,” Rogers added.
The UCPL summer reading program is open to all children; participants do not need to be Buckhannon or Upshur County residents.
“This summer reading program is really intended for everybody,” Rogers said. “People can participate as they want – electronically or in-person – and signing up does not mean you are committed to the full five-week program. If you just want to participate for a week or two, that is fine. If you want to read two days a week, that is fine. We welcome participation no matter what you choose.”
Along with the summer reading program, the UCPL offers book bundles for early readers.
“We take a theme like farm animals or puppies, and we pull together four or five books on that subject,” Rogers said. “This helps especially with busy parents who can come in and grab a bundle very quickly. If there is something you know your child is interested in, you can call or email us, and we will prepare a group of books for the child.”
Another favorite at the UCPL is the ‘take-and-make’ activity kits.
“Our most recent was the peanut butter pinecone bird feeders,” Rogers said. “Also, this summer, we are doing healthy activity kits. They consist of a healthy snack, a bottle of water, a small toy and a weekly activity challenge. Students enrolled in the summer reading program get extra points for picking up the kit. Those who complete their card and return it to the UCPL get more program points. So, in addition to getting kids reading, we are trying to get kids active as well.”
Rogers said the healthy activity kits were made possible by a grant from the Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon, and the new activity kits are available each Monday. This program runs through August 2021.
The Upshur County Public Library is located at 1150 Route 20 South Rd. in Buckhannon. They are open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. They have a Facebook page and additional information is available online at http://upshurcounty.lib.wv.us/, by emailing them at email@example.com or by calling 304-473-4219.