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'Reading takes you everywhere': Libraries launch summer programs

From Tokyo and New York City to Paris, reading will take library patrons everywhere this summer.

Summer reading programs at the Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, Eisenhower, Northlake and River Grove libraries this year feature offerings for all ages, featuring the theme that “reading takes you everywhere.

Elmwood Park

The Elmwood Park Public Library’s summer reading program kicks off June 3 and continues through Aug. 11. It features a plethora of ways for patrons to try their hand at earning prizes, based on age and the number of minutes read or read to.

Festivities will start with a kickoff party at 1 p.m. June 3, designed for families and children to pick up reading logs and enjoy food, fun and games. At the library, patrons will find exploratory tables set up by Mad Science of Chicago, an entertainment/educational provider of hands-on science experiments.

Other summertime events of note that will be offered include a visit from Jim Nesci’s cold-blooded creatures, crafts and a meet-and-greet with the animals of Midwest Bird & Exotic Animals Hospital.

Kim Viita, head of kids and teen services for Elmwood Park Public Library, reading during this time of year can prevent students from losing the knowledge and skills they’ve learned during the school year, which is known as summer slide. Last year, 470 kids, 36 teens and 90 adults completed Elmwood Park’s program.

“I’d like to see us hit 500 kids,” Viita said of the library’s goal. “It would be great. It’s good to see faces and make connections.”

Franklin Park

At the Franklin Park Public Library, the program runs from June 4 through July 28.

“This year, we’re counting minutes instead of books,” said Allyse Dolas, teen programming coordinator for the library.

The library has a goal this year to get participants to read for 200,000 minutes, Dolas said.

“If we reach that goal, we will donate to Food 4 Life Food Pantry and Clothing Closet,” Dolas said.

While there is no kickoff celebration, people are encouraged to get involved. The Franklin Park program offers a number of opportunities for people to win prizes.

Dolas said people have already started signing up to participate and have picked up logs.

There were about 600 participants in the summer reading program last year.

“We’re always aiming to increase our numbers,” Dolas said. “We build on the number of people that sign up every year. Everybody in the area can sign up. They do not need to belong to our library to participate.”

The reading challenge ends with a celebration at 1 p.m. on Aug. 4.


Eisenhower’s summer reading program begins June 4 and continues through Aug. 3.

Its program does not include a kickoff celebration.

Registrations is underway for residents of Norridge and Harwood Heights children, from birth to grade 6, said Tiffany Lewis, head of children’s services for Eisenhower Public Library District.

“We ask that patrons come to the Eisenhower Public Library District to register as they will receive their reading log and additional reading incentives,” Lewis said.

Starting on June 11, participants can come into the library to turn in their log for a prize. They can earn one prize per week.

Some events of note for library patrons to consider include Teen Art Camp, a trip to the Botanic Garden and Library After Dark.

Lewis said last year’s program was deemed a success as the library had 589 participating children.

“Kids came in during the months of June and July to check in their summer reading logs a total of 1,948 times,” she said. “Overall, the children logged a total of 487,894 minutes read.”

Prizes are available to patrons for having read or listened to a qualifying number of books or compact discs.

“Children and families are encouraged to participate since reading over the summer is a great way to help fight ‘summer slide’, visit the library, and take a look at the other wonderful programs we have available for residents of Norridge and Harwood Heights,” Lewis said.

River Grove

At River Grove Public Library, the program begins June 9 and continues through July 21. During that time, patrons can pick up their reading logs and start recording the number of minutes read.

“We like to have as many people as possible,” said Lance Anderson, adult services librarian for River Grove Public Library.

Participants can earn a number of prizes throughout the summer for their participation, based on age and the number of materials read. They are not limited to reading books. Other items that count toward earning prizes include e-books and audio books.

Kate Marsh, young adults librarian for River Grove Library, said they have a whole gamut of activities for participants to choose from.

“We’re trying new things,” Marsh said.

Some events of note throughout the summer include Culture Club, a color war, adult coloring nights and family movie nights.


Northlake Public Library’s program begins with a kickoff party June 2 and runs through July 21, at which point an ice cream social will be hosted.

Laura Bartnick, head of adult services for Northlake Public Library, said their program is different than others in the area because participants need to track each title they check out, not the minutes spent reading.

Reading logs can be picked up at the library or found on its website at

Bartnick said the program provides a fun incentive for participating and that it rewards people who are already reading and watching. Participants can earn prizes throughout the summer for getting involved.

Bartnick said the library saw big participation numbers for its winter reading program and they hope to increase that this time around.