Across the state, families and businesses are facing hardships due to COVID-19. Seeing this, many Hoosier librarians adapted their Summer Reading plans, programs and prizes to help support their communities. By offering gift cards to local businesses, providing fresh produce and making donations to local nonprofit organizations, the libraries below have gone above and beyond to help support their communities this summer.
The Johnson County Public Library Summer Reading program centers around reading for a stronger community. The county set a goal to read 4 million minutes together, and for every million minutes read, the JCPL Foundation will donate $1,000 to a local nonprofit. Readers can place a vote for who receives the donation each time they log five hours of reading. In addition to supporting local nonprofits, the library is supporting local businesses by offering gift cards as the prizes to weekly Summer Reading winners. Another lucky prize winner who reads at least 10 hours will have a Little Free Library donated in their name at a park in Franklin.
Readers in Auburnhave the chance to read away their late fees this summer through the Eckhart Public Library’s annual fine amnesty program. Patrons who have acquired any fines or fees throughout the year can read in house or check out an item, and for every item read, up to $5 will be taken off their account balance. The library is also helping local businesses and its Summer Reading participants by offering gift cards to local businesses as prizes as well as gas and grocery providers.
In Columbia City, the Peabody Public Library supplemented its Summer Reading offerings with a library garden. The garden was created with a grant from the Whitley County Master Gardeners and includes vegetables and a pollinator garden. When Summer Reading participants come to the library to pick up to-go bags of activities and books, they can also head home with fresh produce. Everyone is welcome to harvest produce from the garden and take it home.
Jasper-Dubois Public Library is giving back to its community through the annual Summer Learning program. Participants who read a minimum of three books have the chance to win one of 100 $50 gift cards to local businesses in Dubois County. For every book that is read and logged, $1 will also be donated to local school libraries. Up to $2,500 will be distributed evenly between area schools.
To celebrate the Monroe County Public Library’s 200th anniversary, the community set a reading goal of 200,000 minutes as a part of its Summer Reading program. A $2,000 donation was scheduled for the Hoosier Hills Food Bank when the target was met. Readers of Monroe County met their goal just 13 days into the summer reading program, and Hoosier Hills received the donation from the Friends of the Library. After meeting the first goal, the library set a new goal of one million minutes read. If this goal is met, staff members of the library will give an additional $1,525 in donations to community organizations of their choosing. Learn more about the new goal here.
To learn more about Summer Reading with Indiana Humanities, read our announcement and follow along at #INSummerReads on social media.
Indiana Humanities events intern Connie Brahm wrote this blog post. Connie is a graduate student at Indiana University and will earn her Masters of Arts Administration from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs in December 2020.