Summer 2015 one for the record books

Summer seemed to zoom by faster than ever this year. Maybe that had something to do with all the superheroes in our midst.

Readers participating in the Fond du Lac Public Library’s Behold! The Power of Reading summer reading program blasted past last year’s record with an amazing 3.26 million minutes of reading logged through the program. This titanic amount – a 28 percent leap over last year – continues a positive trend: in 2014, readers logged 2.5 million minutes, and 2013, readers hit 2 million.

More than 4,600 kids, teens and adults logged their reading time over the 11-week superhero-themed program. Every child who finished the program got to pick out a new book to take home. The books were purchased with a $1,000 donation from the Charity Club of Fond du Lac. So far, library staff has handed out more than 1,000 new books this summer, a big jump from last year’s total of 800.

“Children were so excited to earn a new book to take home,” said Children’s and Teen Services Coordinator Sarah Newton. “For some, it was a proud beginning to a collection that had nothing to do with screens or electronics. It was gratifying to see the delight that a traditional book could bring.”

The library again offered bags of Faris flavored popcorn as rewards for adult and teen readers, a very popular incentive. This year, more than 3,600 bags were handed out, 33 percent more than last year. Teens and adults who completed the program by the August 15 deadline had the chance to win grand prizes that included gift cards to popular stores, movie passes, gift baskets, bundles of new books and more.

The annual summer reading programming takes a great deal of planning and resources. Along with the donation from the Charity Club, the library received $5,000 from the Friends of the Fond du Lac Public Library, $1,000 from Fond du Lac Festivals (Walleye Weekend) and $500 from Kohl’s Cares. These donations paid for programs for all ages and the reading rewards. Prizes and pizza were donated by Game Stop, Subway, Pizza Hut, Culver’s, Dominos, Ang an Eddie’s, Bob’s Pizza, Joe’s Fox Hut, Eaton’s Fresh Pizza, Mancino’s, Sal’s Pizza, Benvenuto’s Italian Grill and Ala Roma.

“Our community has embraced wholeheartedly the power of reading and the positive effects it has on kids, especially during the summer months away from school,” said library Director Jon Mark Bolthouse. “We work hard to make the library a fun place that nurtures a love of lifelong learning, and we credit the community’s support for helping to make that happen.”

In top photo: Executive Chef Tim Burk and restaurant General Manager Betsy Calabresa show off the banner Benvenuto's Italian Grill received for winning the blind taste-test at the Fond du Lac Public Library's Mega-Pizza Party for teens. The party wrapped up the 11-week summer reading program, and the teens crowned their favorite pie while scoring prizes and enjoying activities.

In photo top right: Charity Club President Trisha Krug, left, and Children's and Teen Services Coordinator Sarah Newton of the Fond du Lac Public Library review the books remaining from the library's summer reading program. The club's $1,000 donation to the library helped pay for the more than 1,000 books that were handed out to children who completed the 11-week reading program. Charity Club funded the summer reading program in 2013 and 2014 as well.

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