By LIBBY CLUETT
Boyce Ditto Public Library has worked hard over recent years to boost its summer reading program audience and this year it saw big rewards in the numbers of youth and adult participants.
While the 300 participants, ages 12 and younger, were about par with previous years, Youth Librarian Chasity Trejo-Hull said the summer program saw a marked uptick in adults, with 83 participants, and had 51 teens, bringing the total to 434 summer readers.
“We’ve had offerings for all the age groups. This is fifth year we’ve done that – but it has grown,” she said.
“We planned it a little differently this year,” Trejo-Hull added. “We continued with Storytime through the summer to see how it would go. We had a pretty amazing turn out for Storytime each week,” she said, adding that weekly participation ranged from the 50s to the 70s.
The library also had a weekly movie night, featuring new DVD releases, and featured a presenter each week.
This year, she added that they had some regular participants, but also had a variety of readers coming in for the summer program.
“I met a lot of different people this summer,” she said, adding, “There were more kids participating in the reading part than usual – we generally don’t have a ton of kids turn in reading logs.”
With help from community donations, the library was able to increase its prizes for those turning in reading logs.
At last week’s finale party for youth, Trejo-Hull said Awards and More gave medals for the top 12 readers. The library was also able to offer more robust prizes for the top three readers who she said, “Came in and read every day.”
In fact, Trejo-Hull said the third-place reader was last year’s first-place winner and wanted a bike, but they couldn’t afford one then for the winner – the bikes they had last year were offerered as raffle prizes.
This year, though, she said with some extra monetary donations the summer reading program was able to offer bikes to the top readers – second and third place. The top reader, Sarai Ramos, 6, had a new bike, so Trejo-Hull found out she liked “Hello Kitty” Nintendo games, and Ramos received a Hello-Kitty gift basket.
Ramos read 3,779 books. Trejo-Hull confirmed “she really did.” Ramos’ brother, David Ramos, 10, came in second, reading 1,825 books.
Trejo-Hull said the siblings would come in with their mother and bring a sack lunch and read, literally, all day. She said she heard the younger Ramos would read all night long, and each day the library was open she took home her card limit.
Lluvia Montes, 11, came in third, reading 1,254 books and last Friday received her new bike.
In addition, rounding out the summer reading youth top 12 were:
• Fourth and fifth places – brothers Daniel and James Hall.
• Sixth place – Jacqueline Martinez.
• Seventh place – Sajan Babu.
• Eighth and ninth places – siblings Alicia and Salvador Vargas.
• 10th place – Miguel Montes.
• 11th place – Rishita Babu.
• 12th place – Natalie Tincher.
While the youth program ended last week with awards and “edutainment” from Daryl Sprout and Snake Encounters Friday, the teens and adults will wind up with their finale party and concert Friday, 4:30 p.m., at the Boyce Ditto Public Library.
Trejo-Hull said the teen and adult participants could turn in a reading log for every 10 books they read. Each completed log will enable participants one chance at a prize basket, and she said they are ready to draw names for numerous baskets. The reading log deadline is Thursday
But the summer activities won’t stop Friday. Since school is still out for the first weeks of August, she said the library will continue with its weekly Storytime program on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
In addition, the library will continue Friday-night movies, which take place Aug. 9, 23 and 30. Movies start at 5 p.m. and include free popcorn and soda, while supplies last. Children under 13 require a parent or guardian to attend movie screenings.
In addition, she said they will have the monthly art hour on Thursday, Aug. 15, at 2 p.m.
For more information on what’s happening at the library, call 940-328-7880. Boyce Ditto Public Library is located at 2300 S.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.