Participating in the library’s summer reading program was fun for Kaelin Gerig,11, because she got to earn prizes for something she does naturally: read.

Gerig loves to read, and does it whenever she can.

She clocked 100 hours in the Lebanon Public Library’s summer reading program.

“I guess it keeps me interested when I’m board, and I learn stuff from it,” she said.

The library’s summer reading program wrapped up on Aug. 18 with 580 more participants than last year.

This year’s theme was “One World, Many Stories,” and patrons could pick up a passport at the library.

Each page had a picture of a continent on it, with a grid to keep track of time. Each box on the grid represented 20 minutes of reading, or being read to — including listening to a book on CD or on tape.

A few small changes to the program streamlined it for readers and library staff.

The passports were the same across the age groups, from months old to adult. Everyone counted hours read, as opposed to last year, when the pre-kindergartners counted the number of books read.

“It kept it consistent,” Librarian Darcy Smith said. “If you read to your kids, you get to count it, and your kids get to count it, too.”

People of all ages signed up.

“Parents put months next to their children’s ages,” Smith said. “Two-year-olds signed up. It’s good. We want life-long readers. You can never start too early.”

Prizes were awarded to readers after completing a “continent” in their passports, equalling four hours of reading. Most of the prizes were donated, and included coupons for 7-Eleven or McDonald’s, book bags, free books and temporary tattoos.

“A book plate was the final prize,” Smith said, which is a sticker that goes into the front of a library book.

“It will forever be in our books that they participated in and completed the summer reading program,” she said.

So many people read so many hours, Library Manager Denice Lee said they ran out of prizes.

“We went back to buy little coupons, and they just gave them to us,” she said. “The community showed a tremendous response in support of the reading program. And the patrons did, too.”

Three other readers logged 100 hours, and so many exceeded the 20-hour passports that librarians developed an “Out of this World reader” extension to the program.

All who completed at least 20 hours were entered into a drawing to win T-shirts, Amazon gift cards for the adults or Walmart gift cards for the children.

In total, the library tracked 637 people who read 6,104 hours.

Next year’s summer reading program theme is “Dream Big,” and is about night, Lee said.

The format will most likely stay the same, Smith said, with a log about the same size as this year’s passport.

“The kids could manage it,” she said. “The kids were especially excited about little books they could keep track of.”

The program was sponsored by the Ready to Read grant, as well as Friends of the Library.

Now that school is nearly in session, the summer reading program has ended. But that means the preschool story time returns to Thursday mornings at 11 beginning Sept. 8 with the theme “‘Bee’ a reader.”

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