By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Each year, children and adults flock to the Westwood libraries and hunt down some good books for summer reading. Perusing the shelves, kids run back to their parents with a new “Magic Tree House” book or a classic Judy Blume story. Adults scan the shelves, check the New York Times best-seller list, and find new memoir, a new biography, or whatever book will make a fantastic beach read.
As with prior years, though, the summer of 2019 comes with an added bonus for Westwood readers of all ages.
Until August 30, library patrons of all ages can log their reading for a chance to win different prizes. There are three separate reading programs for different ages. The first, for children, starts from Kindergarten until sixth grade. The second, the teen/young-adult program, ranges from seventh grade up until grade 12. The final program is for adults.
This year’s theme for the children’s program is “a universe of stories” - though there is no limit to what the kids can read. To make it easy, librarians have provided book suggestion lists on their website, sorted by age group. To participate, children are asked to keep a reading log. On the first side of the log are 25 circles, which the reader fills in as he or she progresses throughout the summer. Each circle represents one book completed - or one hour of reading, for older participants. For every five hours or books a kid reads, he or she will receive a raffle ticket and small prize from the special treasure chest. At the end of the summer, kids who have completed fifty hours of reading or books receive a "Summer Reading Champion Lives Here" lawn post. The raffle tickets, meanwhile, can be entered to win differently themed prize packs - among them are a space pack and a Pokémon one - or the coveted "Magical, Mythical Fun Basket."
Instead of filling out a chart, adults and teens write a "Patron Picks Bookmark," which includes the title, the author, and an optional short review of the book. At the end of each bookmark is a ticket that can be entered to win some of the prizes the library is offering during this year’s program. The teen and adult who submit the most Patron Picks win one of the three prize boxes offered for their age-range. The other two boxes in each range will be picked at random. The submitted Patron Picks are used to complete a book display at the front of the library for visitors to choose from.
“It’s a great tool to find new books,” said Westwood Library Head of Adult services Molly Riportella. “And some of the adults event get competitive.”
The adult reading program has grown in participation and popularity since it began four years ago.
Some people take time and consult recommendations before picking their choices. Others borrow half a dozen books and read them all within a week or two, before returning them and taking out more books.
Regardless of their book consumption habits, Westwood readers can rest assured that their local library has developed yet another fantastic program this summer.