The Monroe County Public Library’s online summer reading program starts June 1. The program is free and intended for all ages. It will run through Aug. 1.
It is offered through a website called Beanstack, a database that allows the library to set up reading games and a reading minute system, Lisa Champelli, the library’s children’s strategist said.
“Even for our avid readers, a reading game can be a way to just explore some other options that your library offers,” Champelli said.
The link goes live on the library website June 1, Chris Hosler, programming and branch services strategist, said. Parents can create an account on Beanstack, and an account can have multiple profiles for different readers.
For people without internet access, paper copies of the games will be available for curbside pickup at the library, Hosler said.
There are three modules in the program, he said. One for children under 12, one for teens 12-19 and one for adults. Each includes different games to earn reading minutes. Every individual’s reading minutes will be tracked through Beanstack. Readers can also earn minutes by reading e-books.
Erica Brown, a community engagement librarian for adults, said she hopes more adults will participate in the program now that it is online.
“We know that the library is not open,” she said. “We’re really focused on getting the program out there to people who can’t come in.”
Adults can also earn minutes by filling out the census and signing up to vote in addition to reading, Brown said.
The online program allows for a community total of reading minutes to be counted. If the community total reaches 200,000 minutes, the library will make a $2,000 donation to Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Champelli said.
Champelli said the library will also donate books to day cares and children’s camps to encourage summer reading.
“We like to remind kids that reading is a great way to exercise your brain and keep your brain strong, especially while school is out,” she said.
The library’s e-resources are also accessible through Beanstack with a library card, Champelli said.
As participants earn more minutes, they win badges, Hosler said. Participants have the chance to win prizes as they win more badges.
Participants of all ages can earn prizes, including an entry in a raffle for selected gift cards for local businesses including the Chocolate Moose, Mother Bear’s Pizza, Heritage Trail Cafe and Coffee Roaster and more. Champelli said children’s prizes used to be a free book, but the prizes are different this year because kids could not visit the library to pick out their book.
“We just could not guarantee at this time of setting up the game that we’d be able to do that traditional kind of prize that we’d done in the past,” she said.
There are other raffle prizes for each age level, such as a Launchpad tablet for children, a Fire tablet for teens and possible noise-canceling headphones for the adults, Champelli said.
Hosler said the library will donate money to other local organizations as benchmark prizes because the library is not giving out as many physical prizes. They include the Shalom Community Center and the Youth Services Bureau.
“It seemed like a win-win for everybody that we would take that money that we would spend on physical prizes and give it back to the community," he said.
The library’s website provides recommendation lists for summer reading for all ages.