Library Summer Reading Program encourages community-wide participation

Finally, it’s summer. That means a season full of picnics in the park, splash pads and swimming, beach days, and ball games. It also means the launch of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library’s 2023 Summer Reading Program. The program encourages and rewards readers of all ages to keep turning the pages this summer. 
Christi Root is the marketing and patron communications coordinator for the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library.
Christi Root, library marketing and patron communications coordinator, says the annual program has been around for decades. In 2019, the program added an electronic tracker to allow for digital participation. 

This year’s theme is ‘All Together Now,’ which invites readers of all ages and levels to participate, not just children. Root says the theme symbolizes the community coming together. 

“We interpreted it to include organizations within a community joining forces and collaborating on projects that bring value to the citizens that live there. For example, we joined forces with the Midland Center for the Arts for our Summer Reading Kickoff by holding it in the same place as their Summer Art Fair,” she says. “We promoted the arts and literacy in one giant event and it was a great success! We had large numbers of new library card signups and summer reading program signups.”

Participants can track their reading and listening of audiobooks online with the Beanstack app or website, on paper logs available online or at any of the Reference desks. Root says there are a few different incentives to participate, too. 

Theme for the 2023 Summer Reading Program
“Children from babies to tweens and teens earn a coupon book to local businesses as well as a free book at the end of the program,” she says. “We have also added fun prize packs that readers can enter to win such as an outdoor game set, Bluetooth speakers and earbuds, Nerf guns, and building blocks and toys for babies and toddlers. Adults will earn entries into gift card drawings by logging the titles they have read as well. We have gift cards to businesses such as Grove Tea Lounge, Molasses BBQ, Pizza Sams, Cottage Creamery and more.”

Root enjoys witnessing patrons have fun through the duration of the program, starting with the kickoff party, and at each reward tier. “I also love to see the excitement on kids' faces when they earn prizes,” she says. “The prizes we give out really help to motivate them to read, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Last year, the program logged the highest participation of books read, and Root says they’re on track with registration to surpass those numbers this year. The program continues to Aug. 12, and prizes must be picked up by Aug. 19.

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Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at