With the boys of summer done for the year in Washington (baseball’s a tricky game), it’s a good time to take one last look back at how the boys and girls of Arlington did with Summer Reading 2014.
Reading throughout the summer helps kids to explore new books and stories, and helps to maintain their reading-proficiency for when they go back to school in the fall. For Arlington young people, it’s become a celebrated Library-based tradition.
Registration remained virtually identical to the record levels of 2013, with 8,000 young people from preschool to high school signing up. That’s more than double the number of program registrations from 2007. This year everyone signed up for Summer Reading got to take home a large sky blue sign declaring their participation, making for many proud front lawns, porches and picture windows around Arlington.
For 2014, 3,378 young people met their summer goals, with preschoolers and elementary students reading at least 10 hours worth of books and middle and high schoolers reading at least four to 12 books. That’s at least 33, 780 hours for the younger readers since we’ve decided to use a time metric rather than the number of books read as in previous years. For the older readers, we’re still measuring by book and that means a minimum of 2,808 titles were read while we know a lot more were actually consumed. Voraciously.
In addition, the Library’s Youth Services team served up 52 special Summer Reading programs in the libraries, ranging from science and storytelling to teen t-shirt crafting.
On behalf of the students who completed Summer Reading goals, the Friends of the Arlington Public Library have donated $3,000 to the American Library Assocation Philippines Library Relief fund to help rebuild libraries and archives damaged last fall by Typhoon Haiyan.
Also part of Summer Reading: Two young Arlingtonians were big winners of the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival Summer Writing Contest, with Arlington Public Library serving as a participating regional submission center. With the contest theme of “A Book That Shaped Me,” Ananda Kalukin, a 10-year-old home-schooler, won the 1st Place Grand Prize and was also the Virginia State Winner, writing about “Bird Songs Bible” by Les Beletsky. Caroline Antonipillai, a fifth grader at Arlington Science Focus School, won 3rd Place Grand Prize and was a Virginia State Finalist, writing about “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. The grand prize winners got to read their essays in a ceremony at the Library of Congress in October.
Another annual tradition: The entire Summer Reading program was made possible through the generous support of the Friends of Arlington Public Library. The Friends are always there for the Library and that’s something we count on year round.