Library programs: Read a book, earn prizes

Library programs: Read a book, earn prizes

By Terry L Wilson

The Scripps Miramar Ranch Library’s annual Summer Reading Program runs through Aug. 31. Kids and teens (as well as adults) are invited to participate by signing up at the library and picking up a reading log.

“This year’s themes are ‘Dream Big, Read!’ for kids and ‘Own The Night!’ for teens,” said Matt Beatty, branch manager of the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library. “There is still time … to participate in this summer’s program. They can either read 10 books or do a combination of books and activities, or a number of hours reading.”

Those who read 10 or more books are rewarded with raffle tickets for chances to win prizes. The Prize Pack for kids includes a Panda Club meal, several museum passes, a Rubio’s meal with an adult purchase, and a yogurt from YogurtLand. 

“In addition to those prizes, each person who finishes the program gets to pick out a book from our selections of brand new books,” Beatty said. “Our program is actually for all ages, adults may participate as well, but our prizes are geared toward children … We do have some prizes for teens and adults as well. We’ve had Summer Reading for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been working for the system for more than 20 years. Summer Reading is a tradition that goes back to the mid 20th century.”

Linda Eastman, who was the head librarian at the Cleveland Library, developed the Summer Reading Program in 1896. She was an advocate of the importance of children’s literature. She distributed a list of book recommendations through local schools, encouraging children to get as far down the list as they could during the summer recess.

“The purpose of the program is to get kids connected with reading and to connect them with other kids through our craft activities,” Beatty said. “We have music shows, animal shows – and on Thursday, July 28 at 11 a.m. we have a puppet show featuring the Three Little Pigs for the younger kids. Every week we have Story Time for preschoolers, and we have one for younger children, Wednesdays, 10 a.m. And on Aug. 11 we have an animal balloon workshop. We have a variety of programs for kids of all ages.”

In the early 1900s, it was librarian Caroline Hewins who identified that children needed to interact with the books they read, not just log their progress. She developed a summer reading program in Hartford, Connecticut, that added weekly discussion meetings, prizes for children who reached benchmarks, and even an oddly popular puzzle club. She pioneered the sort of interactive summer reading programs that are so prevalent today. 

“Surprising as it may seem, today younger people gravitate toward books because they are a novelty,” Beatty said. “They are used to digital stuff. While digital books are popular with adults 50 and up … younger people tend to prefer real books.”

Another recent program was the How To Build A Rocket Program.

“A group of volunteers associated with Scripps Ranch High School showed kids how to build rockets,” Beatty said, adding that they held a launch on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay.

For additional information, call (858) 538-8158.