GREENFIELD — Three-year-old Warren Jacobi got up on the tips of his toes and reached for a big book about wizards that was about half his size, then plopped it down on the floor to flip through the pages.
The Greenfield boy was visiting the Hancock County Public Library in Greenfield on Tuesday with his mom and 5-year-old sister, who was doing her share of book browsing.
The family plans to participate in this year’s summer reading program at the library, which kicks off June 1 and runs through August 1.
The summer reading program — with individual challenges for kids, teens and adults — has an ocean theme this year, called Oceans of Possibilities.
Kristin Jacobi, mother to Warren and his sister, Eliza, said her kids participated in the library’s winter reading program earlier this year and were looking forward to participating in the summer program, as well.
“It’s good motivation to have a specific amount of hours to try to read each week,” said Jacobi, who has instilled a love of books in her children from a young age.
That’s music to the ears of the library’s director, Dave Gray.
“Our summer reading programs encourage lifelong reading habits and help children maintain their reading skills,” he said.
Cathy Riley, the library’s youth services manager, said the summer reading program is a great way to get both kids and adults excited about reading throughout the lazy, hazy days of summer.
Library patrons can register online at hcplibrary.org and log the time they spend reading to earn e-tickets to enter into prize drawings.
For the Kids Summer Reading Club, which is for babies through students entering the fifth grade, all kids who complete five hours of reading can claim a paperback book and a surprise. They can also enter prize drawings to win gift cards from fun places like Dairy Queen, Culver’s and Build-A-Bear, to name a few.
For the Teen Summer Reading Club, which is for students entering grades 6-12 in the fall, all teens who register can claim an ocean-themed vinyl sticker. Once they have read 10 hours, they can claim a paperback book and a Libby’s Ice Cream gift card. Teens can also enter prize drawings for gift cards to Evolution VR, Hometown Comics and more.
Adults 18 and older can participate in the Adult Summer Reading Club. Everyone who reads 20 hours can claim a free personal pizza from Mozzi’s Pizza, and enter into prize drawings for a variety of prizes, like gift cards to Arrowhead Golf Course and Daniel Vineyard.
Adults can also enter to win unique prizes like a Lego Disney castle set and Nike by You custom shoes.
Gray said his staff works hard to gather a variety of prizes that will pique participants’ interests, including those from local businesses.
While a few prizes and gift cards come from chain restaurants or stores, the majority are from businesses unique to Hancock County, including Mozzi’s Pizza, Frosty Boy, Confection Connection, and Hitherto Coffee + Gaming Parlour. There’s also a senior picture package from local photographer Shawna Marie Photography, and the chance to peek behind the curtains at Greenfield Chocolates to see how the chocolates are made.
Riley said the prizes are a fun way to encourage readers of all ages to pick up a book, or several books throughout the summer, and get lost in the joy of reading.