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Park Rapids community values children and literacy

Loon Country Carvers was one of the local organizations to offer a design workshop at the library. In this case, participants practiced carving techniques on a bar of soap.

There's so much to love about summer in Park Rapids: the sunshine, the lakes, and the summer reading program at the Park Rapids Area Library!

Each year we ask area businesses and organizations to provide sponsorship in the form of prizes or cash donations, and each year they come through for the children in our community. We also invite organizations and individuals with theme-related experience to lead an activity or class. Always, our community rises to the occasion.

The 2017 theme, "Reading by Design," created the opportunity for a wide array of special programming. The Crazy Quilters and the Loon Country Carvers (both groups that meet at the library) offered design workshops relating to their craft (designing a quilt square and soap carving, respectively). Itasca State Park Naturalist Sandra Lichter taught about home design in the animal kingdom. Library patron Jeff Mosner led a class on fly-tying, and local artist Boyd Sharp provided a demonstration and workshop on abstract art.

This year, 471 children and youth (ages 2-18) registered for the summer reading program and read for a combined total of 6,560 hours. Ten-year-old Kiana Bjorkstrand earned the "Outstanding Reader" award and a gift certificate to Beagle & Wolf Books and Bindery. Kiana averaged 1.8 hours of reading per day, reaching 90 hours in 49 days.

By summer's end,the library had hosted 33 special programs and events besides the regular Friday story times. Total attendance for youth and children's events during June and July was 650, an additional 209 people attended story time in June and July.

Through the cooperative efforts of the library, community education, and PRLAAC, we received a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council to bring Bi-Okoto, a Nigerian drum and dance group to Century School. Fifty students participated in an afternoon workshop, and an audience of 72 people attended the evening performance.

Thanks to the Friends of the Library and their recent movie licensing purchase, we added movies to our summer schedule. In celebration of Harry Potter's birthday, 52 patrons boarded the Hogwarts Express to an interactive movie event, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," complete with edible wands, bags of props and treats.

In a separate movie event, two people were able to name the title of the "Mystery Matinee" using clues provided in the days leading up to the movie. Each successful detective received a free book before settling in to watch "Hugo" (based on the book, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret"). The best prize: one of the attendees had her parent bring her to the library the next day to check out the book.

As summer ends, our focus shifts to other library work. But first we want to thank all the businesses, organizations, and individuals who helped make "Reading by Design" a success. We're proud to be part of a community that values children and literacy. Students, we hope your school year is filled with intrigue and discovery. Keep reading, and make sure to visit us at the library!