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Library celebrates another record-setting summer

Emily Distefano

The Boyne Regional Library’s summer reading program grand prize winners pose with their baskets. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

The Boyne Regional Library’s summer reading program grand prize winners pose with their baskets. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Every year, the Boyne Regional Library starts its annual summer reading program with the goal of encouraging as many local kids to read as possible, and this year the library passed the 600 mark.

The program wrapped up last week with a grand prize draw and a record-setting number of participants. In total, 608 school-aged children and teens took part in the program.

“It was exciting,” said Head Librarian Sandra Yeo, who noted they passed the 2016 total of kids early on. “They just kept coming and coming - which was awesome.”

Last year, 535 kids registered for the program.

Of the kids involved this year, some are students at Carman Elementary School, Carman Collegiate and Dufferin Christian School while others are homeschooled. Around 51 kids from the RMs of Roland and Grey were given free memberships so they could participate. And some kids were visiting family in the area when they signed up.

The six-week program is a key event for the library, promoting literacy at a time of year when kids can lose ground since they’re not in the classroom.

Assistant Librarian Diane Cohoe said they worked hard to spread the word this year, making 19 trips to visit schools and day cares across the region, inviting classes into the facility for visits and kicking off the event with a Canada 150 barbecue that brought some families new to the area through the library doors.

And the three summer students who ran the program did a great job, Yeo said, helping the young readers check out 15,386 titles and fill out 15,386 ballots.

“It was busy,” said Cohoe.

The high demand left their shelves looking sparse.

“It was certainly something to think about,” said Yeo. “It’s a great problem.”

And seeing so many people use the facility has both librarians dreaming of the in-house programs they could run if they had the space to hold more people in the library.

“It would be so awesome to offer more programming throughout the summer,” said Yeo.

Several local businesses made the program and the prizes possible.

“We’d really, really love to thank the businesses that support us, because without those businesses we would never be able to offer a program this extensive,” said Cohoe.

Now bereft of summer decorations, the library has been busy getting ready for back-to-school time and setting up the annual $4 book sale.

And Yeo and Cohoe are already looking forward to what they’re going to do for next year’s summer reading program.

This year’s grand prize winners

Enmaline Gross, Victoria VanEeken, Karlee Maendel, Kyla Vandersluis, Carter Dyck, Kalie Versteeg, Joshua Blok, Aden Vandersluis, Kenza Ouihya, Jack Smith, Jordan Kooiker, Tanner Gross, Nora Baschuk, Tabea Hofer, Amelia Wiebe-Price, Tracy Hamming, Sara Hofer and Anderson Dyck each won a grand prize basket during the draw on August 29.