Park City Library sets up a Flash Read and Summer Challenge
Park City Librarians Jessica Manis and Katrina Kmak want to see everyone reading during the summer.
That’s why they came up with two activities that they hope will inspire people of all ages to pick up a book.
One, a Flash Read, will happen tomorrow, June 5, in front of the library, 1255 Park Ave., at 2 p.m.
"We’ll have a big umbrella set up and are encouraging people to join us," said Kmak, youth services librarian. "We would love if they brought lawn chairs or blankets, because it will be a beautiful Sunday and we’re sure to have people walking up and down to and from Park Silly Sunday Market. We’re hoping they will pass us and wonder what’s going on and ask, or even join us and read for a while."
Kmak will have a wagonload of children’s books on site.
"So, if parents want to bring their kids, they can pick out a book," she said. "Or everyone can bring their own books. We’ll also have some Otter Pops."
From there the group will head up Poison Creek.
"We’ll find a comfy place to park it and then we’ll come back and end up by City Park," Kmak said. "We’re planning to read at each spot for 40 minutes."
Visit http://www.facebook.com/parkcitylibrary on June 5 for a Flash Read schedule.
The idea of the Flash Read came through a brainstorm session Kmak had with her colleague Manis, the adult services librarian.
"We had talked about the culture of reading in the different places we lived," Kmak said. "Jessi lived in Boston for some time and she said people read everywhere — on busses, on benches."
"People would even read and walk and it was totally acceptable if they ran into one another," Manis said with a laugh.
The two wanted to offer a reading event that embraced Park City’s culture, according to Kmak.
"Everyone loves to be outside and are super active. So, we wanted to incorporate reading with that," she said. "We talked about doing a flash mob with a bunch of people in the community and then the clouds parted and the sun came out and we went, ‘Flash Read.’"
The idea is to expose people to reading, Manis said.
"Research has shown that if kids see adults, especially their parents and other adults in their lives reading, then they are more likely to become readers themselves," she said. "This is also a way to educate parents and adults about this thing called modeling reading and how much that can influence a child growing up."
"Think of how many kids know how to use their parents’ iPhones or tablets," she said. "Even kids who are 1 1/2 and 2. They know how to press the button and swipe. So, if these kids are surrounded by reading, imagine what can be done."
If the Flash Read is successful, there will be more throughout the summer, according to Manis.
"So far, we’ve had a lot of excitement about it," she said. "It would be fun to do this a couple more times."
"We even had an idea to do this on the bus," Kmak said. "A bunch of us would read and ride a loop."
The second activity is the Train Your Brain Summer Challenge, which includes making goals with an interactive sculpture that was created by the Kimball Art Center’s Young Artists Academy.
"Our summer reading program is nontraditional compared to what other public libraries do," Kmak explained. "Park City is a community that is goal oriented and active and research has shown that if people make their own goals, they are more likely to achieve them."
Kids who want to participate in the summer challenge can visit the library, write their goals on a piece of paper and attach them to the sculpture.
"When a child does this, it becomes an interactive experience, and that is quite different than other libraries’ summer program," Manis said. "With those reading programs, people will go into the library, talk with a librarian and give them your name and your kids’ names and your library cards.
"It’s kind of a cumbersome process, and it makes the librarians seem like gatekeepers," she said. "In this case, it’s free and open and you get to participate in an art project, which is very Park City."
The payoff comes when the children reach their summer reading goals.
"We will award them interactive STEM kits, which will mean more than just a plastic toy that they will eventually lose," Kmak said.
The kids, with help from their parents, will hold themselves accountable for their goals.
"I’m in the process of making a calendar so they can mark their progress," Kmak said. "Hopefully their parents will also set some goals, because we want everyone to read or expand their minds in some shape or form."
Participants can also write their goals in a summer challenge brochure.
"That way they can take the brochure home, so they won’t forget what their goals are," Kmak said.
"The brochure also lists some different ideas to help them achieve those goals," Manis said. "At the end of the summer, the kids can go over their goals and tell the librarians whether or not they achieved them."
In addition to the STEM kits, the kids who achieve their goals will get a free book at the end of the summer.
"We have free books for all ages — adults, teens, young kids," Manis said.
"I have free books to give away at every event we will host over the summer, so please, help me get them out of my storage and into your homes," Kmak said. "Anyone can participate and everyone should participate."
The Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., will host a Flash Read on Sunday, June 5, beginning at 2 p.m. For more information about the Park City Library’s summer reading challenge, visit http://www.parkcitylibrary.org.
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