Kids' reading clubs are busy this summer

 Jeremy Tankard produced this year
Jeremy Tankard produced this year's BC Summer Reading Club illustrations for Funny Business.
— image credit: image submitted

Perhaps at least one positive can be chalked up to the B.C. public school teachers' strike.

Students out of school two weeks early this year may be a reason enrolment numbers are up at summer reading clubs in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.

Staff at the Coquitlam and Terry Fox (PoCo) libraries say their participation rates are higher than last summer for the clubs, which reward children with a weekly sticker and, after 50 days of continuous reading, a medal.

As of Wednesday, 1,622 kids had signed up in Coquitlam since June compared with 1,573 children for all of last summer (the cut-off date to register this year is Saturday).

And at Terry Fox Library, 691 children have joined the BC Summer Reading Club to date versus 680 for all of last summer.

Coquitlam Public Library's youth service co-ordinator, Barbara Weston, said the hike could be "because schools were out early this year and parents were looking for other activities."

Still, the increase may be somewhat unexpected given that the library couldn't put on its full promotional push because schools were behind picket lines.

Typically, Coquitlam librarians promote the summer reading program at city schools in June. "This year, we were unable to visit half of the schools due to the work stoppage," Weston said. "Because of that, I'd expect the numbers to be down but they're not."

Terry Fox librarian Dana Ionson had similar comments but she also noted this year's theme and artwork have been a big draw. The illustrator, Jeremy Tankard, created cute and colourful characters for the Funny Business motif that was chosen by a provincial committee and supported by the BC Library Association.

In Port Moody, however, reading club participation is down: from 1,400 last year to 1,100 so far this year.

Maryn Ashdown, PMPL's programs and youth services co-ordinator, said librarians encourage kids to join in the fun, which includes weekly prize draws if kids submit a book review or a cartoon.

Meanwhile, teens and adults can also be part of summer reading clubs at the three libraries. Port Moody has monthly draws for adults who register — with the July prize being an infrared sauna package for anyone who enters a book review.


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