By Bethany Glick, University of Oregon summer intern
July at Eugene Public Library means the Summer Reading program is in full swing. The library is for everyone and so is Summer Reading, bringing people of all ages together to read, learn and have fun.
The goal of Summer Reading, at its core, is to encourage and inspire young people to read while school is out.
"[The Summer Reading program] is fun, but critically valuable and important for kids," says Eugene Public Library User Experience Manager LaVena Nohrenberg.
Nohrenberg stresses the importance of third graders reading at grade level as a critical benchmark. Establishing a strong reading foundation at this age is crucial to succeeding throughout the rest of their years in school. However, maintaining reading skills over the summer break can be challenging, and many students face summer slide.
“The library is committed to fill that gap,” Nohrenberg says.
To achieve that goal, the library plans many free summer events encouraging kids and their parents to engage with the library and read. Families can discover the joy of reading together with StoryWalks in the parks and Family Storytimes. The library also has an exciting lineup of activities tailored to teens, ranging from constructing an herb planter to joining animanga club. There's a delightful array of options for everyone to enjoy.
Summer Reading also promotes inclusivity. From infancy to adulthood, everyone deserves access to reading resources. Book bingo cards, free books and library events are available not only for kids, but adults too. The library encourages bingo card users to engage with literature on their own terms, allowing participants to track their reading in a fun, stress-free way.
When kids and teens sign up for Summer Reading, they receive a free book of their choice. Nohrenberg finds kids are more likely to read a book when they pick it out themselves, empowering them to foster a connection with their book. Eugene Public Library staff strive to remove any barriers surrounding reading opportunities in hopes of creating a positive outlook on reading.
When adults sign up, they receive “The Seed Keeper” by Diane Wilson. Nohrenberg believes this novel is a beneficial read for people all across the community.
“It is helpful, thought-provoking, and reflective of the library's values,” she says.
Library staff hope to cultivate a community read, pairing a free talk and book signing event with Wilson at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Downtown Library. In addition to this adult-focused event, one can enjoy local art exhibits or treat themselves to a story grab bag at the library.
From encouraging students to read on their summer break to orchestrating a thought-provoking community read for adults, Summer Reading provides the community with nothing but beneficial opportunities.
“We want the community to know that the library is here for them,” Nohrenberg says.