PIQUA — With summer reading programs nearing an end, teens are continuing to soak up the summer reading and the summer fun at the Piqua Public Library.
“It’s really fun,” Jaina Burton, 15, of Piqua, said about the teen summer program. “I really enjoy it. It’s kind of interesting because it encourages teens to read more by telling that they can get cool prizes by reading more and more. Then, if this succeeds well, it could lead to more teens reading and less teens being in front of a screen all day.”
The summer program at the library was a good fit for Burton, as it encouraged her to do something that she already loved to do — read.
“I love reading,” Burton said, who is currently reading “Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment” by James Patterson. “I’ve been reading since I was really little, and I guess it’s always been there.”
As someone who moved to Piqua recently during the past school year, Burton has enjoyed how the activities at the summer program have helped her make new friends.
“I really like the activities. It helps me get to meet new people from the area,” Burton said.
“I like it a lot,” Angel Forrest, 13, of Piqua, said about the summer program. Forrest agreed that she also liked the opportunity to meet new people in Piqua. Her favorite kinds of books also tend to be about myths and legends, which was this year’s theme for summer reading program.
Held at 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, the teen summer program included an event, craft, or movie related to the motif of myths and legends. The program was divided into nine themed weeks, focusing on ghosts the first week, dragons the second, Bigfoot during the third week (participants searched the library for the elusive Sasquatch) and the Loch Ness Monster for week four. They have also looked at Hercules, UFOs, the supernatural, and, most recently, Native American legends.
They have one more week to go and will be meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2, from 2-4 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 5, from 5-7:30 p.m. for their after-hours party.
“I’m really liking it,” Malaya Barker, 13, of Piqua, said about the summer program. “I read anyway, but they make reading more fun because then we get prizes for reading.”
Different prizes include two Kindle fire tablets, a manicure set, an art basket, water guns, a volleyball net, and more. They also handed out tickets to King’s Island after the first four weeks of the summer program.
Barker is also known as their button collector at the summer program, as the library passes out buttons each week and for different levels of participation in the program. Barker said that she already passed all of the levels even though she began taking part in the program two weeks after it officially started.
“It’s all been fun,” she said.
For Barker, it was hard to choose her favorite moment of the program so far, but she noted that she enjoyed when they bleached t-shirts.
Barker is also somewhat of a reading convert, as she used to not like it as much until she started getting absorbed into the stories.
“I used to not like (reading) at all because I thought it was boring, but once I got into actually reading the book, I stopped reading — it’s more like I’m in the book,” Barker said, who is currently reading “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas. “Reading is fun in general.”
“I’m loving this one,” Nathan Hamilton, 13, of Troy, said about the summer program, noting that he particularly enjoyed the movies that they were showing. “There’s so many different movies that I haven’t watched before.”
His favorite so far has been “Hercules.”
“It actually gave me a chance to watch the movie and enjoy it again,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton is enjoying the reading aspect of the summer program as well, mentioning that he also likes getting absorbed in the story when reading a book.
“I love to read. In certain books, you can just get lost in the lore and story,” Hamilton said, which is what he likes about one of his favorite book series, “Warriors” by Erin Hunter.
“I am absolutely amazed,” Rebecca Baker, teen program assistant, said. “I’m so proud of this group.”
The summer program has seen approximately 178 teens participate throughout the summer, with a consistent group of 15-20 teens who have been coming to the library twice a week and on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“I’m very proud of them, and I love working with them,” Baker said, noting especially that this particular group of teens has shown a lot of kindness toward each other. “They’ve really blown me out of the water.”
“Teens giving up part of their summer to come to the library is really great,” Audrey Gorman, reference and information desk worker, said.
“They’re pretty awesome,” Robin Heintz, marketing specialist, said about the teens. Heintz also noted that it has been a successful summer for the program and it has been free for the kids to participate.
With the summer reading programs coming to a close, the library is approaching their after-hours party for teens on Aug. 5. For more information about that or to sign-up, the library can be contacted at (937) 773-6753. For more information, visit their website at www.youseemore.com/piqua.
Reach the writer at (937) 451-3336