More than 27,000 kids, teens and adults took part in The Indianapolis Public Library’s 104th Summer Reading Program, which ended on July 29. Readers devoted 22,073,465 minutes to reading while earning prizes generously donated by community sponsors, far surpassing our goal of 16 million minutes read.
Throughout the summer reading program, kids and families dropped off new and gently used books at book donation bins at each library location. This allowed participants to give back to the community by donating over 2,000 books to Brightlane Learning, a local organization that fights homelessness with the transformative power of education.
“The summer reading program inspires children to maintain their reading and learning habits throughout the summer months. Interactive events, such as live animal presentations and art workshops, draw children to the libraries and keep them involved in reading all summer long,” said Shael Weidenbach, area resources manager of youth services with IndyPL. “Our activities encourage participants to explore new interests and meet new people, inspiring lifelong learning habits.”
More than 12,100 of this year’s summer reading program participants signed up as part of a group and read alongside their friends in local summer schools and summer camps. For the fourth consecutive year, kids kept track of the amount of time spent reading instead of the number of books read. This allowed participants of all reading levels to have an equal opportunity to earn prizes such as passes to the Children’s Museum haunted house, tickets to Indianapolis Indians games, Eiteljorg Museum passes, a free pizza from Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, and, of course, books. Prizes were earned at milestones of reading for 1 hour, 5 hours, 10 hours, 15 hours, and 20 hours. Participants were entered into drawings for grand prizes including one of two $529 CollegeChoice CD savings accounts.
The Adult Summer Reading Program joined in the fun by tracking minutes read this year and contributed 35% (5.69 million) to the reading goal of 16 million minutes read. The Adult Summer Reading Program also experienced a 60% registration increase and a 143% increase in participation. The library had 1,554 participants complete activities such as visit a seed library, attend a CBLC program, or listen to an episode of our new podcast, “More Than a Place.” All the activities focused on bringing patrons back into the branches or experiencing a service the library provides.
This year, adult participants who completed challenges and activities could enter to win themed prize bundles that reflect popular hobbies, like coffee, gardening and local exploration. Many of the prize bundles highlight local businesses and organizations, including Bottleworks Hotel, Haughville Honey and Helm Coffee.
“We are thankful to the donors who have made the library’s summer reading programs for youth and adults possible,” said Roberta Knickerbocker Jaggers, president of The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. “They played a role in bringing the community together and nurturing a love of reading at every age.”
The Summer Reading Program is presented by Friends of the Library through gifts to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. Major sponsors include 92.3 WTTS, Alice and Robert Schloss Donor Advised Fund, The Indianapolis Foundation Library Fund, Indianapolis Indians Charities, Dr. Sherri Lauver and Dr. Kevin Biglan, Lilly Endowment Inc., and Mary Frances Rubly & Jerry Hummer. Supporting sponsors include Citizens Energy Group, CollegeChoice CD 529 Savings Plan, Corteva Agriscience, FORVIS, The Fort Ben Branch Design & Construction Companies: RATIO, The Skillman Corporation and Davis & Associates, Inc., Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Office of the Lawrence Township Trustee Steve Talley and OneAmerica®.