The air has cooled, the streets have quieted, and the library summer reading program statistics have been tallied.

We are thankful for the generosity of our sponsors: 23 businesses and organizations who donated cash, prizes or treats for special events.

486 people, ages 2-18, registered for our summer reading program and logged more than 7,000 hours of reading time.

The 2018 theme, "Reading Takes You Everywhere!," led to destinations both real and imagined. Community members shared their time and expertise through theme-related programs. We all went "Loony for Minnesota Lakes" with Itasca State Park naturalist Sandra Lichter. Once a month, we hopped on the "Magic Lunch Bus" with Park Rapids' own Julie Cook as she helped prepare foods from different regions. We ate popcorn, and watched movies. We sang, we danced, we laughed. We made art, we made friends. And along the way we read, we encouraged young readers, and we celebrated libraries and literacy.

Through a community grant from 3M, we were able to bring storyteller Zaraawar Mistry and musician Greg Herriges for a storytelling workshop for young people as well as a performance of stories from India. The same grant allowed us to host award-winning Minnesota author and performance poet Bao Phi. As a special guest at story time, Bao read his children's book, "A Different Pond." The story, based on his own life, is about a boy whose family came to Minnesota from Vietnam as refugees.

By summer's end, we had hosted 22 special events and programs which were attended by a total of 443 people, and offered 12 story times, for a total attendance of 314. Besides our many attendees from Park Rapids, Nevis and Menahga, we had representation from other areas in Minnesota, and from Colorado, Texas, Maryland, Kansas, Arkansas and South Carolina. Our reach went even further as we were joined by visitors from China, Romania and Thailand. It seems as if reading really does take you everywhere!

Our thanks to all our sponsors and summer reading program participants for another successful summer! Remember to visit during the school year, too. Check our Facebook page for upcoming events. For another way to stay informed about library events, email us at and ask to be put on the list to receive our electronic newsletter.