Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Reading Is Not Just for Children—Adults Get in on the Fun

Timothy Burkett finds a quiet place to read at the Central Library.
Timothy Burkett has been an avid reader all his life. Growing up in Birmingham, he attended George Washington Carver High School and won several city-wide awards for his science fair projects. When he participated in an Upward Bound program at Yale University, he found his niche as a playwright. When his life took a few unexpected turns, Burkett continued to feed his mind by reading. Today, at 65 years of age, he is participating in Summer Reading and making plans to Escape the Ordinary as a member of the adult reading club.

Since December 2014, Adult Summer Reading and BPL Eastern Region Coordinator, Sandi Lee, has been hard at work organizing outstanding programs for audiences. Along with her counterpart, Janine Langston, coordinator for youth services and the western region, the two have worked with other staff to provide more than 500 programs for summer reading participants. The goal of Summer Reading is to encourage individuals (especially children) to read for pleasure and to read often. Last year, participants collectively read more than 46,500 books. BPL is offering special programs and incentives through July to motivate patrons of all ages, from children to adults, to read what they enjoy. Once participants read the number of books in their set goal, they are eligible for rewards. Reading rewards range from admission tickets to the McWane Science Center and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame to scavenger hunt prizes from Red Mountain Park’s zip line.

Enjoying summer reading tailgate party is (left to right)
Janine Langston, Angela Fisher Hall, and Sandi Lee
“Summer Reading has something for everyone,” stated BPL Director Angela Fisher Hall. “With support from our summer reading sponsor, the Alabama Power Foundation, and other partner organizations, we are able to provide an experience for our citizens to encourage reading for enjoyment and enrichment. This is a time of year that we all look forward to and, most importantly, it is an opportunity to engage everyone in the joy of reading. We hope that more adults like Burkett will take advantage of the incentives we have in place to encourage participation.” Over the past five years, Burkett has read more than 100 books. His inspiration came from former Today Show host Dave Garroway who, according to some, read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica set.

The fun of reading is open to all and, by the way, Britannica is available online via the library’s website. Participants interested in Summer Reading can sign up at any BPL location or online at http://www.bplonline.org/summerreading.aspx. The online component is a new feature this summer where children, teens, and adults may record reading activities to their account and earn virtual badges, as well as other rewards for participating in library programs. Thousands of readers are expected to participate this summer. Magic shows, art classes, demonstrations with live animals, movies, talent shows, fitness fun, storytimes, and more will be offered at all BPL locations.

BPL Adult Statistics for Summer Reading 2014
Number of adults registered for summer reading: 1,135
Number of certificates awarded for 2014 to adults: 410
Number of books read in 2014 by adults: 5,845
Number of programs offered especially for adults in 2014: 100
Number of total attendees for all adult programs in 2014: 1,171

Make sure to follow BPL's Adult Summer Reading on Facebook!

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