The Fort Saskatchewan Public Library's summer reading program provides more than just books.
The library offers three programs to help residents keep up on their reading over the warm months -- one for children, one for teens, and one for adults.
Children's and teens' programs have both had record enrollment this year, with 627 kids signed up for just the junior club as of August 4.
"It involves being read to by someone of reading yourself, so if you're reading a picture book by yourself or a longer book... that all counts," said Sue Karp, library assistant at the Fort Saskatchewan Public Library. "It's just about being enthusiastic about reading over the summer."
The library offers prizes to motivate participants, which vary from small toys and picture books for children to arranged baskets of book-related gear for teens and adults. The teen summer reading club has changed its programming slightly this year in that participants now have the option to complete "challenges" outside of their reading. The challenges include tagging the Library in a social media post, spinning a wheel to pick a new genre, creating your own bookend to keep at the Library, and more.
"It's a fun way to incentivize it. We're not overbearing about it, we don't want book reports, we're not going to ask you what you liked best about it," said Karp. "It's not like 'Well, what happened on page 26?'"
The kids' program has been the most popular of the three options, partly due to the fact that it involves themed activities each week. Each week invites different age groups out to have fun and complete educational activities around a theme.
"If you're on vacation, it's okay to miss a week because it's something new and exciting every week," said Karp. Her favourite theme week so far this summer has been the invention week for kids aged 5-9.
In future, the library would like to expand its Chamber of Challenge, a table area where patrons are invited to complete puzzles and other activities. "It's one thing you can do here that you don't have to register for," Karp explained. "We're also hoping to make online registration easier."
The most popular genre for children at the library this summer has been graphic novels.