Time left to participate in the summer reading challenge

Library program participants have until Aug. 31 to claim prizes

Residents have until Aug. 31 to participate in the Haddonfield Public Library Summer Reading Program and earn raffle tickets or claim prizes. (Special to The Sun/The Sun).

There are only a few weeks left, but it’s not too late to participate in the summer reading challenge at Haddonfield Public Library. 

The challenge is open to all ages and kids can participate by stopping by the library and completing reading-related activities on a checklist. Once they’ve finished, they can turn in their checklists at the library to win Fairy Floss and popcorn from Sparrows Snacks.

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“Summer reading should be fun,” said children’s librarian Jordan Bilodeau. “It shouldn’t be like (how) schools have requirements. The public library program is all about kids enjoying reading, finding a new book, reading something they might not have read before.”

In the past, challenges were listed on a bingo card and kids would have to make different shapes on it. Challenges can include things like reading a new genre, reading to a sibling or reading outside. 

Teens and adults interested in participating can log the minutes they read through the app Beanstack. For every hour of reading, they get a ticket that can be entered into raffles for different gift baskets. For adults, baskets include everything from beer to coffee. Teen prizes include a snack basket – dubbed “a pile of junk food” by the librarians – school supplies and a self-care package with bath bombs, face masks and a journal.

“They don’t have to finish the whole challenge to be able to be in the raffle,” said Cathy DeCampli, head of the library’s teen department. “They just need to be able to select those tickets through completing activities or logging their reading.”

DeCampli acknowledged the challenge is different for kids and teens because older students often have more to read for school.

“We’re not going to make them go out of their way to read 10 more,” she explained. “Instead, we’re going to reward them for what they’re already doing and hope they’ll also do a little extra reading. It’s summer and we’d like them to be able to do their own personal reading.”

This year’s theme mirrors that of the New Jersey State Library, “An Ocean of Possibilities,” and throughout the summer, the borough library has hosted a number of ocean-themed activities and events, including a squid dissection with Adventure Aquarium. Kids will create fish magnets with sand Friday, Aug. 12.

Though participants in the reading challenge have until Aug. 31 to claim their prizes, the library will hold a closing party for the challenge on Monday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. It will feature animals from “Eyes of the Wild in a Mammal Mania.” Registration is required at the library’s website.

To learn more about the summer reading challenge, visit the Haddonfield Public Library or https://www.haddonfieldlibrary.org/summer-reading.

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