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South Valley Journal

Summer reading program goes beyond books

Jul 06, 2017 05:05PM ● By Kelly Cannon

An example of the kids’ reading record for the Salt Lake County Library Services Summer Reading Program. (Salt Lake County Library Services)

Every year, the Salt Lake County Library Services offers a summer reading program to people of all ages. This year, the theme is taking participants beyond just books.

The annual program draws thousands of participants, though few completers. The theme this year is “Build a Better World,” an idea that encourages to find ways to make the world a better place.

“They can build a better mind through reading, building a better community through volunteering, or participating in community events, becoming involved in political activities, just doing what they can to build a better world,” said Liz Sollis, Salt Lake County Library Services Marketing and Communications Manager.

The program focuses on five theme words: read, learn, create, play and connect. Participants take a reading log and complete activities associated with the words. For instance, for read, participants can read or listen to a book, read with someone, read a newspaper or magazine, read an online article or e-book, or read a poem or picture book. For connect, participants can visit a library, attend a concert, make a new friend, explore a new place or volunteer in the community. 

Sollis said the idea of the five theme words is to expand the program beyond just reading.

“We want to remind everybody that the county libraries are a place where we can allow that to happen,” Sollis said. “Reading is something that we offer. But we offer programs and resources that allow opportunities for people to learn. We also promote play. Play is an important part of learning. We have programs that involve play.”

When a participant completes one of the tasks, he or she fills in a letter of the word on the program record. Once all the words are filled in, participants can take the record to any Salt Lake County library and enter a drawing. They also get a prize and a ticket to the Natural History Museum of Utah for their library days in August, including an adult-only night.

“We did an adult only-night, and they really liked it,” Sollis said. “We have a lot of adults who participate in the program. The Natural History Museum has been a great partner. What we love about that is it’s a place where kids can go to learn, and they can learn a variety of things about their world.”

If participants finish their record and still want to keep reading, the library offers a Skyscraper Record.

“They can get another reading record, and they can continue to read and complete it,” Sollis said. “Once they finish their skyscraper record, they get another entering into a drawing.”

The program runs through July 31. It kicked off with a special event on June 2 at Veteran’s Memorial Park, which is adjacent to the West Jordan Library branch and the Viridian Event Center.

“We have booths from different community partners, as well as West Jordan has booths,” Sollis said. “We have entertainers throughout the night, and we have crafts. This year, West Jordan is hosting a screening of ‘Moana’ at 8:45 in the park. We also have food trucks.”