By Mary Capobianco, Thomas Memorial Library Foundation
The Thomas Memorial Summer Reading Program will begin again this summer and we encourage all readers to enroll. This story was written in the summer of 2017.
Josh pulled up outside the library on his dirt bike. Pulling his backpack off his shoulder, I watched as he tugged an orange paper from his bag. “Wait a minute”, I yelled opening my car door. “Can I ask you something? I see you have the Teen Summer Reading Sheet. Did you sign up for the Reading Challenge?”
“Yeah,” he replied.
“Why did you sign up? Do you like reading?”
“I wanted to win the $75 card for ‘Diversions’.”
“So, how are you doing?” I asked.
“Ok, I guess. I am not done, I still have a few more to read.
“What are you looking for?” I asked him.
“I am looking for numbers 8, 11, 20, and 22.” He answered looking over the well-worn paper listing the many genres’ required reading.
“If there was no prize would you have signed up?” I asked.
“No,” he laughed, “I wouldn’t have.”
“Well, good luck!” I replied.
Behavior motivations work, at least according to Josh. And for the 120 other teens (grades 5th – 12th) who signed up for the 2017 reading program, the many possible prizes certainly offered an incentive. Josh was at the library on a beautiful Cape day searching for a book to read. He readily admitted he would not have made the effort without the library reading program and the added ‘Diversion’ incentive.
I ran into Linda at the library, carrying her green adult game sheet. She explained to me that she has had a Cape library card since she was a little girl. She admitted she loved to read but always favored the same types of books. When I asked her why she had decided to join the reading program she simply replied, “Why not sign up? I like to read, and I would love to win a prize!”
She had a few more books still to read on her list. On the game sheet number 20 required her to “Read some poetry”. Linda admitted that she wanted to check with the circulation desk to see how many “some” actually meant. No matter the number, she was off to read poetry!
Linda was one of the 164 adults at the Thomas Memorial Library who jumped into reading this summer. The number of little readers was even greater; 294 Pre-K to 4th graders signed up to read. A group of four, soon-to-be second graders, told me that they all signed up because their mothers made them. But, all of them admitted that they had lots of fun completing the sheet. “There is lots of stuff to do on it besides read, “ on child told me. They explained that they came into the library to claim their “spin to win” prize. Part of the fun was landing on the mystery choice space which gave them a library mystery to solve, such as ‘Go around the library looking for characters with sunglasses.’ When I asked them if they were glad they signed up, they all answered, “Yes!”
Almost 600 community members of all ages have picked out new books, found new places to read, shared books with someone (or a pet or a stuffed pal) and asked for suggestions from the librarians. Lots of new faces have walked into the library searching for new books on travel, or trying an audio book for the first time. The library staff hoped that these readers will continue to explore the library and its offerings all year.
This year the theme is “Destination TML: A universe of Stories” with prizes supported by the Thomas Memorial Library Foundation. So bring the whole family and sign up on Monday, June 15. What could be a better way to spend the summer!
Do you have a personal story to tell or an idea how the TML made a difference for you or someone you know? If you do, we want you to contact the Thomas Memorial Library Storytelling Committee so we can hear your story. You can reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our story tellers will contact you to help edit your story and arrange for you to share it on our webpage or in the Cape Courier. It’s a great way to encourage young people to share their stories too.