HARVARD -- The summer reading program at the Harvard Public Library ended as successful as in past years, with more than 270 consistent readers contributing to their individual "Dig Into Reading" accounts over the summer months.
"We had tons of things going on this summer, from storytimes to movie nights, to hired performers, to book groups," Head Children's Librarian Abby Kingsbury said. "It was really, really busy."
Kingsbury says that although the summer is always a busy time in the Children's Room, this summer seemed particularly busy, adding that she noticed a fair amount of people moving to the area with children.
Each program on the calendar requires preregistration due to limited space in the library, and Kingsbury found that the most impressive part of the summer was the number of children logging into their "Dig Into Reading" accounts online from home and in the library rather than the performances or scheduled events.
As a state-funded program, the web-based program allows readers to log in from home or the library to read digital books.
"The program keeps track of the time they are spending reading online, and they are able to get prizes as they go," Kingsbury said.
After reading a full book, children and teens write reviews on the site.
"I think this is terrific because it supports not only the reading skill kids should be working on over the summer, but also the writing skills and also the critical thinking skills," Kingsbury said.
Children received up to 11 small prizes during the summer, but they were also given a book plate if they read up to 30 hours total. Children were allowed to place their book plate in the front page of any book they wanted. Each book plate states the year, the child's name, and the total number of hours they spent reading over the summer.
Instead of giving out regular prizes, teen readers were entered into a raffle to win a Kindle Fire at the end of the summer, and also required to write longer, more substantive reviews of the books they read.
Aside from reading, Kingsbury worked to schedule either a performance or a big event, such as an ice-cream social, once a week, based on funding. Much of the funding this summer came from the Friends of the Library as well as grants from the Harvard Cultural Council, Rollstone Charitable Foundation and the Harvard Conservation Trust.
"We were very lucky with funding this year because it allowed me to book more programs and events," Kingsbury said.
With the summer over, Kingsbury has begun thinking about fall events, such as movie nights and book groups for both children and teens on a monthly basis, and occasional performers, as the budget allows.
For more information on the programs in Children's Room at the Harvard Public Library, call 978-456-2381.