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Summer Reading Goes Digital

Nothing stops Peoria Public Library’s quest to build literacy through Summer Reading – not even a global pandemic – but COVID-19 has changed the way Peoria Public Library offers its Summer Reading program.

This summer, instead of encouraging families to visit one of our locations every week to log their reading and collect prizes, Peoria Public Library has adopted a user-friendly online service that lets patrons track their reading sessions, scan in books they’ve read and earn prizes as well as recognition for streaks of multiple days of reading. Think of it as Fitbit for reading.

Peoria Public Library’s theme is “Read Where You Are,” and Summer Reading runs from June 1 to July 18.

“As we head into summer, many things are still unknown, but one thing we do know is that you can read where you are, wherever you are,” said Peoria Public Library Executive Director Randall Yelverton. “Find a place that makes you happy. Under a tree or up in a tree house. A favorite sunny window seat or under a cozy blanket fort with your flashlight. We want everyone – all ages – to rediscover how reading can transport us even if we’re still stuck inside.”

Details on how to use Beanstack, the library’s Summer Reading app, can be found at Peoria Public Library’s website: www.peoriapubliclibrary.org. A tutorial is also available on Peoria Public Library’s YouTube channel.

Patrons without access to the internet can still participate by either picking up a paper reading log at one of our curbside locations or by keeping their own log. Read one hour per week to earn prizes, which the library will distribute at the end of the program. Complete all seven weeks of reading to secure prizes and entry into a grand prize drawing, which will be July 31.

All ages can participate. Parents, reading to your children counts for you AND your child.

“Last year, our Summer Reading participation was up more than 35 percent, with nearly 4,500 readers taking part. We saw gains in every age range, and we’d love to keep that going or, hopefully, surpass last year’s participation,” Yelverton said. “This year, we’ve set a community goal to read one million minutes cumulatively, and with our new app, everyone will be able to see how we’re doing with this goal.”

With typical summer activities like public pools, summer camps and library kids events either cancelled or in limbo, Yelverton said he hopes families will rediscover how transportive books can be.  

“During the school year, students often don’t have a choice about what they read. In the summer, we want them to reawaken their imagination by reading what they like. There’s also a practical reason to sign up for Summer Reading. Reading over the summer prevents the ‘summer slide’ or loss of reading skills.”

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