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Summer Reading Program with the Public Library

6/30/2020

Special note: Mayor Bob Tharp wants to encourage everyone to sign up and support the Iva Jane Peek Public Library through this program. The library will be opening once again, as soon as possible.

Our "normal lives" have changed all over the world to a "new normal" because of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Schools had to make virtual accommodations for students to finish out their '19-20' school year. The wearing of face masks, washing our hands for 20 seconds, as well as not touching our faces and social distancing from those we love have all become an important part of life to keep everyone safe. However, what I am impressed with during this whole situation is how innovative people have become to still meet the needs of other people in the community and the players that have become team players. 

This is where I would like to insert an "amen!" for modern day technology. Through apps such as Zoom, business meetings, council meetings, board meetings, and customer service can still take place to make those important decisions that need to be made. Multiple church services were able and still are able to resume through the use of Facebook live or some other option such as tuning into a radio station while sitting in your car at your church. Because of the internet, websites, and apps that we can download on our phones, we are still able to order much needed supplies from our favorite retail stores and have it delivered to our doorsteps, or pick up curbside. Although we have tremendously missed going into our favorite restaurants for that wonderful dine-in experience, our palates have still been able to enjoy our favorite restaurant dishes through drive-thru or curbside.

So with that being said, let me introduce to you to what Patsy Alleman and Karen Jones, the librarians of the Iva Jane Peek Public Library in Decatur Arkansas are doing for their summer reading program. With a heart for their patrons, they wanted to think of some way to serve the community and still keep their patrons actively reading while being closed due to the pandemic. After exploring options, the librarians have set up their summer reading program on a website called http://readsquared.com/ (To reach the Iva Jane Peek Public Library Summer Reading Program  "Imagine Your Story" CLICK HERE.) On the right side of the screen you will see where you can download the app to your phone making it easy to do this program anywhere at any time.

I went to the website on a desktop computer and signed up so I could just check it out and see what it was all about. Now that I have explored the features and the program, I am very encouraged to participate. On this website you can earn badges; I have one just for signing up! Here's what you can do on your dashboard: log your reading whether it is the entire book, number of pages, paragraphs, if it's an audio book, or e-book. Got a book you like? Give it a review. Found a book you aren't sure whether you have recently read it or not since participating in the program (you know how we older generations and our memories are?) You can view your logging history; plus you can see how well and advancing you are doing. You can view your missions (Coloring pages! Who doesn't love to color?)! These are like extra-curricular activities that you can do that will earn you more points, badges, and maybe even some prizes. There are viewing lists to examine. These viewing lists consists of books that are suggested reading.

For each activity that is completed, you earn points (just like in a video game). The number of points earned will vary based on age. Also, just like video games, when you reach certain number of points you level-up. The more points you earn the greater chance of earning a certificate, badges or maybe even a prize.

For all of you that like to play games, there is a game feature that can be accessed from the patron dashboard. I played the "Follow Me" game which mimics the classic Simon electronic game. I got up to 15 before I gave up.

Before I sat down to write this article, I spoke with Patsy via texting, about the length of time that people can participate in this program. She said that it started in May and will go through the first couple of months of the '20/21' school year. This program is not only for the little children, but adults can participate and of course teenagers too. Patsy was telling me about a mission the teens can do which is creating a video where they share why they think that literacy programs and libraries are important. The winning teen of this mission can win $200 as well as resources for the library.

One final note. In the top left corner you will see above the menu on the dashboard two tabs; home and event. If you click on event you can see what events the library has planned. Right now, Patsy does a virtual story time by Zoom every Thursday at 3 pm. If you are interested in this for your children, get in touch with her by emailing her at ijppublib121@yahoo.com or by going https://www.facebook.com/DecaturPublicLibrary121

One final, final note. This program is FREE!! Happy reading, and may your adventures take you to unknown and unexplored territories!

Written by Jeanelle Simpson 6/30/2020