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Read, create and connect through county library summer reading program

Jun 06, 2023 01:40PM ● By Ella Joy Olsen

Remember those lazy days of summer? When there was nothing to do but stretch out on the hammock with a good book and read? Well, summer is coming and the Salt Lake County Library System wants to encourage kids to stretch out with a good book, to keep those reading skills fresh throughout the summer. But summer is for more than reading. And this year the summer reading challenge encourages much more than that. 

The program runs June 1 to July 31, and it isn’t just for kids. “Everyone can participate and everyone can win,” said Paula Burgon, Youth Services librarian at the West Jordan Library. “Adult, teen or child, everyone loves a reward. And the best reward is a book.” 

The theme for this year is All Together Now and focuses on bringing families, friends and community together to read, create, learn, play and connect. It is a library sponsored reading program, so of course there are prizes for reading, but the program also encourages other types of activities which can be logged toward redeeming a reward. Participants can reach out to a new friend (connect), try a new game (play), paint a picture for a neighbor (create), eat a food they’ve never tried before (learn), or even write a nice note to the mail carrier (connect). Ultimately, it’s about creating unity and kindness in the local community. 

To get the party started there will be a Summer Reading Kickoff at three different branch libraries: Daybreak, West Jordan and the newest library in the system, the Granite Library. Look for food trucks, live music and crafts varying from branch to branch, such as making kindness rocks, blowing monster bubbles and beading bracelets. The kickoff will be on June 2, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Often parents will challenge their children to curl up with a good book by logging their own reading time, so the reading program creates connection within the whole family. And everyone who participates gets a prize: a new book of their choosing.

Kids (and parents) can pick up materials at any branch library starting now. Or participants can simply create an account and start recording their activities and reading online. However, the reading and activity log will eventually need to be returned in person to a branch library to redeem the prize. Finishers will also be entered into a drawing for passes to one of several local fun spots like the aquarium, zoo, fun centers and museums. 

Historically, the program has been very popular. According to Laura Renshaw, manager at the Millcreek Library, “Last year, systemwide we had about 17,000 kids who finished and took home a free book. Plus there were 8,000 adults, 3,000 pre-readers and over 2,000 teens.” 

The county library system consists of 18 branch libraries located from as far south as Herriman, west to Magna and east to Millcreek. For more information, visit your local branch or visit online at λ