Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 14, 2018

They rocked, they read, they celebrated

Mt. Pleasant Public Library wraps up summer reading with a party
Aug 06, 2018
Photo by: Gretchen Teske Aiden Heater, 6, tossed some beanbags at the summer reading program celebration.

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News


The Mt. Pleasant Public Library wrapped up its summer reading program, “Libraries Rock,” on Friday. Kids drew pictures with chalk, sang karaoke and walked the library grounds in a scavenger hunt to celebrate.

Children’s librarian Bekah Hosford said over 400 kids signed up for the program and just over 50 percent completed it, averaging to around 200,000 minutes of reading. The goal for the program was children seven and under to read 180 minutes and children eight and up at least 300 minutes. Hosford says the kids exceeded the goal this year and it will be raised next year.

“I think it went really well,” she said. “This year, since it was my first year, I just wanted to see what they could do. I’ve been pleased that they hit the goal that I set.”

Kids were able to participate in teams, according to which elementary school they went to. When they turned in their reading logs, the number of minutes were added to the individual schools’ total. This year a home school team won, with Harlan Elementary coming in second. Their prize was being able to choose Hosford’s new hair color. To her relief, they did not get too crazy and chose red.

“Programs have been pretty well attended, especially our special performances,” she said. “You can always tell when there’s a special performer because we have more people in the children’s department and have more tickets coming in and more checkouts when that happens. Special performers definitely bring a boost to numbers in our library.”

She says that bringing in these performers, like the Blank Park Zoo or Mad Mix Science, enhances not only the reading program but keeps their brains active before school begins again. “The whole point is we’re trying to beat that summer slump,” she says. “A lot of these special performers are fun, but they’re also educational. Anything that we can do to counteract that brain drain that happens, we want to accomplish that.”

Assistant children’s librarian Tia Scheitlan has been with the library for over seven years. She agreed with Hosford that the program was successful. “We tried out the minutes this year and it went so well,” she said. “I can tell by our grand prize drawing because it’s so full.”

She says the success of the program has inspired them to add more activities such as board game club and Lego club to reach more students.

Jennie Leishman enrolled all four of her kids in the program for the first time this summer. This is their first summer in Iowa following a move from Washington state. She says they lived rurally and did not have easy access to a library before but now that they do, she is glad to have a place for her kids to learn in the summer. “Libraries offer a lot of benefits,” she said. “Books themselves are important and by going they get to learn their way around the library and how to find books.”

She says it also helps them learn about new interests and topics as well as meeting new people and learning to ask other adults for help. “I’ve always loved libraries and I think it’s great to be able to bring the kids as well.”

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