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For the first time, the Spencer County Library had an adult summer reading program in addition to the one hosted for children.
Debra Lawson, Spencer County library director, worked in a library in Indiana last year that had a summer reading program for adults. The program used bingo sheets to encourage patrons to explore new genres.
Lawson thought the bingo-type program would be fun to host because it is passive and does not require the adults to attend a lot of events.
She contacted her previous library to get more details and to ensure she could adapt the program for Spencer County.
“Librarians are great at stealing ideas,” Lawson joked.
Summer reading themes are developed by a national organization called Collaborative Summer Library Program. Libraries are free to come up with their own themes, but the materials from CSLP are prepared and researched already.
Some libraries tweak the details to suit their needs, but the basic theme is the same for many libraries across the country. This year’s theme was Novel Destinations, and several of the genres involved travel or exploring other countries.
The adult summer reading program ran from June 2 to last Friday. On Saturday, the library held a gathering for the patrons who completed the summer reading program. Each person received a free book, a book bag, and many also received door prizes.
Each participant received a bingo scorecard with 25 spaces. Each space held a different genre including mystery, romance, historical fiction, non-fiction and memoir. For each square filled in, the participant was required to fill out a review card, which went into a drawing. Each time a participant completed a bingo, another entry was put in the drawing.
“I like to read. I like to learn new things,” said Kathy Jamison, one of the patrons who participated in the program.
“It was different. We’re trying to get more involved with adults, and get them more involved in our programs,” said Stacy Tiller, children’s/youth services librarian for the Spencer County Library. “Book bingo seemed easy because adults are busy and it could be done on their own time.”
According to Tiller, a lot of people picked up the bingo sheets, but did not turn their reviews back in. Thirteen people actually completed the program, but three times that many got started.
“It’s a good way to get to know people in the area,” Tiller said.
The library would like to start a book club for adults. The hope is that the people who were interested in the summer reading program will also want to participate in book discussions.
Teenagers were given the option to participate in the summer reading program, as well.
Requirements for the bingo program were open-ended, so choosing a book to read was easy for teens and adults alike.
“The books required were just a genre,” Tiller said. “They weren’t specific books that may not be age appropriate.”
“This is the beginning of more to come,” she said. “We’re interested in programming benefiting the whole county.”
Lynn Shelburne, who participated in the program with her teenage daughter, Leah, was impressed with the program.
“Anything that the library can offer for adults and children alike is great for the community,” said Shelburne. “It really encouraged me to read more than I would have without the bingo.”