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Summer Reading is Indispensable

While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our community, the Minot Public Library is still working to connect, enrich, and inspire. Though the building remains closed, MPL staff have provided curbside pick-up, hosted virtual story times and an online game night, and are preparing teen programs online. One thing that will never change is the Library’s commitment to summer reading. When staff realized the Library wouldn’t be ready to open for the annual Summer Reading Program, they decided they had to do something different so they’ll be hosting a Parking Lot Party from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, June 1, to celebrate the start of the 2020 “Imagine Your Story” Summer Reading Program.

Why is summer reading so important? Summer Reading Programs are important for many reasons, but primarily because it matters… Because children and teens who don’t read during the summer lose what they’ve learned. Because kids who lose knowledge over the summer will have a difficult time “catching up” in school. Because a trip down the “Summer Slide” is no fun for anyone, the kid, the teachers, the parents, or our whole community.

“Parents have been busy schooling from home recently, and we don’t want our children to lose what they have learned. That’s why the Minot Public Library is moving forward with the annual Summer Reading Program. With our new software, Beanstack, families can sign up, log minutes/pages, complete activities, and earn prizes from anywhere over the summer,” says Pam Carswell, Teen Librarian. To kick-off the Summer Reading Program, everyone who registers via Beanstack by 6 p.m. Friday, June 5, will be entered to one of many prizes – including a grand prize with hundreds of dollars in gift cards for downtown businesses.

While Beanstack will be helping track reading, the Library will still be preparing programs for all ages. At this time, staff are busy preparing both virtual and in-person programs to safely meet the needs of the community. Currently, MPL has virtual story times weekdays at 10:30 a.m. on Facebook and in May, staff hosted a virtual game night. Virtual adult and teen programs and a chapter book read-aloud are planned for June. Check out the Library’s website or Facebook page for details.

“This year is about getting back to basics though and that means reading,” said Carswell. Through this program, students are encouraged to read whatever they want. At the Minot Public Library, children and teens have a lot of choices for reading materials and can freely choose what they want to explore. Readers will find fiction and nonfiction, as well as magazines, comics, Manga, newspapers, and audiobooks to support what they are reading. Freedom to read what they want, is another important benefit of summer reading. “Researchers have found that children who are able to choose what they read become better readers, spellers and writers,” says Carswell.

Summer reading (and Beanstack) is not just for the kids though; the Minot Public Library has plenty of challenges for adults and teens this summer. Teens can earn a halfway prize and a $10 gift card to a local bookstore for their efforts over the summer plus the “Imagine Your Story” writing contest will be held. Carswell added that “While Beanstack will be tracking your teen’s reading online, we are preparing lots of programs we hope to host in-person in July and August.”

“Summer reading offers a lot for kids, but adults benefit too,” said Adult Services Librarian Zhaina Moya. “Some of the many benefits adults gain from reading include: an increased ability to focus, reduced stress, and an increase in cultural competency – all of which are very important these days more than ever!” Moya and other MPL staff are excited to have this new online platform, so everyone can earn prizes for reading.

Visit minotnd.beanstack.org or download the Beanstack app to sign up today and be entered in the drawing. If you do not have access to the Beanstack app or a computer, there will be paper logs available for teens and adults at the Library. For more details on the June 1 Kick-Off party or the drawing, call the Minot Public Library at 852-1045.

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