Local/State

Philadelphia residents challenged to read 20 million minutes

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Read a good book lately? Actually, the Free Library of Philadelphia hopes you and your entire family will do a lot more than that over the next several weeks.

The annual Summer Reading Program begins June 17 and runs through August 9, but you're welcome to drop by your neighborhood library any time.

New this summer is a challenge to the city to read 20 million minutes. That sounds like a lot, but if everyone reads every day maybe as little as 15 or 20 minutes...the city will reach the goal.

You can register your minutes at your nearest library. Updates will be posted regularly on the library website. That's also a great place to find e-books.

You can check books out of your neighborhood library and use the resources of the website if you have a library card you're eligible if you live in the city, work in town, or attend school here. But the Free Library website is so highly-regarded that people from all around the world pay an annual fee for a membership card.

The Free Library partners with other entities to make summer reading more fun. Herr's Foods has donated snacks as prizes, and the Phillies have kicked in loads of souvenirs.

Every younger child who participates gets a Free Library souvenir. Teens who participate can earn raffle tickets for some very desirable prizes. But the real winners are the young people just because they participate.

Education experts know that students who read through the summer return to school in the fall better equipped to continue learning.

Students who don't keep reading lag come the fall and need weeks to catch up. The good thing is that what you read doesn't matter so much as the fact that you keep reading.

So this is a terrific time to explore anything you might want to read about. You could check out a hobby or craft. You could read a magazine, even a comic book.

Reading at or above your grade level has value, of course, but this need not be work. Have fun, keep reading, and enjoy the benefits once school resumes. Most libraries outside the city also have a summer reading program, and you should check out the one nearest you. Note that libraries partner with one another.

If you're nearest branch in Philadelphia doesn't have the particular book you want to read, but it's in the city system anywhere, it can be delivered.

Often, if the city doesn't own a copy but some other library does, they can work out a loan and get it for you. You should also feel free to discuss your reading interests with your neighborhood librarian. They know their catalog and can help you find resources which will appeal to you.

For more about summer reading in Philadelphia, consult the Free Library's master website. Elsewhere, just visit your neighborhood library.

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