The Kent Free Library's Summer Reading Program wrapped up on Aug. 3. According to Youth Services Manager Sarah Wilsman, the "Dig into Reading" theme, the program incentives, and the library's variety of programs and events made for a very successful year.
"Kent kids read for a combined total of 4,345 hours," said Wilsman. For each hour spent reading, kids earned a vote in the "Care for a Critter Contest," to determine which of five ground-dwelling animals the library would "adopt" from the Akron Zoo. The winner was the Komodo Dragon.
Readers also received entries for raffle prizes donated by local businesses and organizations.
"Super Readers," or those who completed 20 hours, received a yard sign. "We gave out more than 150 Super Reader Yard Signs," said Wilsman.
"Kids were thrilled to get a sign to show their neighbors what great readers they are, and many of them sent us their pictures by their signs, which we posted on Facebook and Flickr."
The program wrapped up with a visit from the Akron Zoomobile; more than 160 kids got to meet and touch zoo animals in the library's meeting room.
Adult readers had their own program for the second year. Adults read and reviewed books or attended library programs to earn raffle entries, also for donated prizes from local businesses and organizations.
"The reader reviews were great," said Adult Services Manager Melissa Ziminsky, who noted that many of the reviews were published on the library's website and in the library enewsletter. "It was really interesting to see what people had to say about the books they read -- positive or negative."
Ziminsky also noted that her department offered a wide variety of programs for adults during the summer, including four different book clubs, craft-making programs, music concerts, and food tasting events.
The library thanked the community businesses and organizations that donated prizes for the youth and adult programs: Akron Aeros, Akron Art Museum, Akron Civic Theatre, Akron Zoo, Bent Tree Coffee Roasters, Canton Classic Car Museum, The Cleveland Browns, The Cleveland Indians, The Cleveland Natural History Museum, Eat 'n Park, Franklin Square Deli, Great Lakes Science Center, Insomnia Cookies, Kent State University College of Communication and Information, KSU Communication, and Marketing Department, Off the Wagon, Pufferbelly Restaurant, Ray's Place, Sweet Frog, Tree City Coffee, and The Works.