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By Jake Dowling, Icon summer intern
Soon school will be out, but families can still read at the Bluffton Public Library this summer. BPL is hosting its annual summer reading club from June 4 to July 31.
"This year our theme is "Dream big, Read!" which is all about night time," said Rikki Unterbrink, library youth services coordinator.
Youths in grades kindergarten to fifth, will have a theme called "Dream big, Read!" while teens ranging from grades sixth to high school seniors, will have a separate but related theme called "Own the night."
However, the program is not only for those under the age of 18, it is also available for anyone all the way up to 95.
"We have an adult program and we want them to just be role models for the kids," Unterbrink said. "We're excited to include the whole family this year."
From birth to the age of 5, bookmarks are given stating how much children need to read. Once they accomplish the minutes required, they can check off the minutes read on their logs and receive a stuffed animal.
For youths in grades kindergarten to fifth, the requirements are 10 hours of reading and 15 hours for teens in grades sixth to high seniors.
"The prizes for that age group are coupons from local businesses such as McDonald's, Subway, Taco Bell, even the Common Grounds Coffee Shop," Unterbrink said. "But we are also giving away tickets to Kings' Island and Cincinnati Reds' games, among other prizes."
Adults, college students and older, must read three titles, ranging from novels, to audio books even magazines and newspapers. For every three publications they read, adults submit a prize entry form and have the opportunity to draw prizes at the end of the program in late July.
"This year we are giving out two Kindles for the adults," Unterbrink said.
The goal is to have everyone participating in the event, read as much as possible over the summer.
"There is a black hole in the summer time because kids don't read as much in the summer and they often get behind once school starts again," Unterbrink said. "So really the goal is to keep their reading level or even advance it so they are not totally left out once school starts."
"We are really just encouraging everyone to read more this year and that's what makes this a great program."
Volunteers are always welcomed too.
"We usually get around 20 volunteers for the program, but generally speaking I accept just about anyone who is interested," Unterbrink said.
Anyone can volunteer, teens and adults, but Unterbrink believes that teens have a better bonding relationship with the younger children and the program provides a good learning experience for teens as well.
"It really gives teens a better understanding of life in a working environment," she said. "How to dress properly and act professionally; they can even use me as a reference for a real job too."
For more information, contact Unterbrink at (419)-358-5016 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested can also check the library's website or drop by the library during open hours.