While COVID-19 may have brought a lot of changes these past few months, librarians at the Hillsboro Public Library are determined to maintain a summer reading program.
“It’s going to be different from previous years,” said circulation manager Sarah Davidson. “But we’re still doing everything we can to make it fun and engaging for all ages.”
Among all of Highland County District Library’s branches, the overarching theme is one that reflects the global situation: “We’re all in this together.”
From there, each branch is adding their own special twist — Hillsboro’s is camping.
According to children’s library manager Gabrielle Pitzer, “We chose not to do the previously planned theme since we couldn’t have performers. So instead, we wanted to do a theme that anyone could relate to. When you think summer, you think summer camp, camping at the campgrounds, and being outdoors.”
“We put a reading-spin on the camping theme by calling it ‘Camp Read-A-Lot.’”
Kids ages 2-14 can sign up for a reading log. For every book that they read, they can color in a spot on their reading log. Every 10 books will earn them a place in a drawing. They can earn up to five entries by reading. If they finish early, they can also complete a reading bingo card for another drawing entry.
“Though we’re not going to have a prize for most visits to the library this year, we are still going to do our weekly drawings,” Pitzer said.
The teen and adult program, called “Reading Retreat, will be designed similarly. Every book read will equal a slip for a drawing. Each week, an adult and teen name will be drawn. The winners will then be able to pick a prize from several on display. They can also play reading bingo for a small prize.
“The community was amazing when it came to sponsoring the program,” Davidson said. “I want to say a huge thank you to our sponsors: Turner & Son Funeral Home, North High Street Subway, Holtfield Station, Dairy Queen, Wilkin and Wilkin Insurance, Merchants National Bank, Long’s Retreat, Young’s Dairy, Kings Island and COSI.”
The biggest difference, Davidson and Pitzer said, is that due to crowd restrictions, traditional programming will not be a part of the summer reading roster.
Instead, virtual programming will be highlighted on the library’s Facebook page. Every Thursday, a special video will be posted by Pitzer or Davidson featuring a craft or activity that patrons can try at home. Weekly polls will also be posted every Friday.
In addition, every patron who signs up will be given a coloring page. At the end of the summer, all entrants will be posted on Facebook. Winners in young children, middle-age children, teens, and adults will be determined by “likes.”
“Librarians will also be competing among themselves,” Davidson added. “We’ll have special coloring sheets and patrons will be able to vote for their favorite librarian artist. Even though this will be an unusual summer reading, we’re still excited to have the chance to see everyone and connect in this special way that we do every year.”
Pitzer added, “We know this summer reading will be different than what kids are used to, but we still have a lot of fun planned.
For more information on summer reading or other library activities, visit www.highlandco.org or search “Highland County District Library of Ohio” on Facebook.
Submitted by Sarah Davidson, circulation manager, Highland County District Library.