North Liberty Summer Reading Program taking different approach

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 5:59 PM CDT
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NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (KCRG) - Staff at the North Liberty Public Library are taking a new approach to address summer learning loss.

Parents like Jamie Bagan know the benefit of books when school is out, especially to prevent summer learning loss.

“I know it’s always been a struggle sometimes to get kids to read,” Bagan said. “I actually have an older son now, who is 20, and we’ve always when he was younger got involved in the reading programs to help get him involved in the community throughout the Summer.”

Bagan is a neighborhood ambassador working with the North Liberty Library’s Summer Reading Program. It’s a new approach this year, going out into the neighborhoods.

“The ambassador’s role is to encourage their neighbors to get involved in the community to get a more cohesive place to live, and to get to know your neighbors. They’ve been instrumental in helping us reach out to our summer reading program and encouraging their neighbors to visit the library,” Erin Silva, the library’s youth and teen services librarian, said.

The neighborhood with the most points gets a free visit from an ice cream truck. In addition to incentives, Bagan says the uniqueness of this program is something she hopes draws more people in.

“Typically, people think of summer reading programs as a lot of reading or always going to the library,” Bagan said.

Right now, about 400 people are enrolled. They’ll log 36 reading or activity sessions to complete the program and earn a $5 donation for a local non profit. Silva says the data gained is also a big help with outreach.

“For me to see which neighborhoods maybe have active readers, and maybe which neighborhoods don’t have as active readers,” Silva said.

The program ends July 31. Silva said she’s hoping it can be a fun way to learn and stay caught up after a trying year.

“The most important thing with kids and reading, is to let them read whatever they want, whenever they want,” Silva said.

People can still sign up for the program on the Library’s website.

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