SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Summer is in full swing, and that means the return of the summer reading program at the Springfield Public Library. Teen and Emerging Technologies librarian Alice Chunn and Children’s Librarian Brianne Mintz sat down for an interview about the reading program and answered some questions about their experiences so far.

The program, which has currently has 209 students between grades one through six and up is a mainstay at the library during the summer months. Students read enough books to fill up a reading log, which they can then turn in for a raffle ticket. The student can then select from one of several prize drawings, including an iTunes gift card, a pizza party and movie tickets. After the reading log is done, students can get a new one and start over.

For the younger readers, the library also offers a toy chest filled with smaller prizes. And throughout the summer, the library puts on complimentary programming where summer readers can bring in their reading logs and participate in a complimentary program

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For Chunn, one of the most rewarding aspects of the program is seeing a student who might not be enthusiastic about the program start to enjoy reading books.

“I would say [the most rewarding thing is] attracting reluctant readers and people who typically don’t really check out books during the school year who come during the summer,” Chunn said. “And we try to entice them with certain incentives. And the kids get really excited with being able to try to win prizes.”

Chunn added, “It gives us an opportunity to also find books for them when they come in, because honestly they want something that they want to read, even though they aren’t typically big readers. But once we recommend one book and they get into a whole series, it’s really rewarding to see somebody check out like seven books at once.”

Both Chunn and Mintz agreed that it is enjoyable to see young readers immersed in their selected books. They also said that in their experience so far this summer, one of the major challenges with the program is getting the word out. Mintz said that for her personally, another challenge is getting the kids to read for the first time, but it is something she enjoys

“It’s my first summer here, so I think the only challenging thing so far has been actually getting the kids excited about reading,” Mintz said. “But once they get into it, like Alice said, it’s so rewarding to see them excited to read, and wanting to read the books on the school lists. So it’s just getting them to that excitement, and wanting to read their books for the summer.”

The summer reading program continues at the Springfield Public Library until August 10. Along with the summer program, the library also has books available to help students in the district complete their required summer reading lists. Select books are on a first-come-first-serve basis. For more information, go online to http://www.sfplnj.org/kids/230-teens/761-summer-reading-2018 or call the library directly at (973) 376-4930.