QUINCY — Quincy Public Library has kicked off its summer reading program — with some changes — to encourage children, teens and adults to read, investigate and discover.
The program, with its Dig Deeper theme, "is a great way to stay engaged with the community, stay engaged with literacy and it's especially important for our children to continue reading so that they don't experience any summer slide and stay engaged with their academics," Library Director Kathleen Helsabeck said.
But Helsabeck said this year's program, which runs through Aug. 7, will be "pretty different" from past years.
Instead of focusing on the number of books read, the program targets time spent reading books and e-books or listening to audiobooks, with a goal of six hours for children and 10 hours for teens and adults.
Help to track time spent reading will come from a new reading log app available online or through a mobile app. Patrons can visit quincylibrary.beanstack.com or download the Beanstack Tracker App and search for Quincy Public Library to get started.
"It's like a Fitbit for your reading. It tracks all the books you've read, how many minutes you've read," Helsabeck said. "The library really encourages people to branch out and try this new feature, but if there are those that do not have internet access or a smartphone, we do have the paper logs available."
Along with the chance to earning prizes for reading minutes, program participants can earn virtual badges through the app for a variety of activities. "Those badges turn into tickets, and tickets turn into chances to win prizes," Helsabeck said.
Children also can enter to win one of four Trek bicycles donated by the Bodley Lodge Masons.
Minutes spent reading books checked out from QPL, and books from home libraries, can be tracked. Helsabeck said the program isn't limited to just QPL books because of the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.
"We didn't know what the summer was going to look like. People can do this from home. They do not have to get out," she said. "We encourage you to come and check out library books, but you can use your own."
QPL provides locker service for patrons to pick up requested items at County Market at 48th and Broadway, Iles Elementary School, Lincoln-Douglas Elementary School and at the library.
"You can request items from the catalog or call and say 'I'd like some books about the Mississippi River' and we can select for you, so it's a surprise of what you actually get. Those can be placed in lockers, or you can come to the circulation desk and just pick those up," Helsabeck said.
"We're really changing the way we're doing things to provide access and resources to the community in a different way. You don't have to come into the library, spend time and browse. You can, but you don't have to."
Activities and events
In addition to the Dig Deeper summer reading challenge, Quincy Public Library will begin offering in-person activities and events on July 6.
All programs and events will be capped at 50 people or less, depending on the program, so advance reservations are encouraged.
The library also will offer later hours beginning July 6.
Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
A full list of events and registration is available online at quincylibrary.org or by calling the library at 217-223-1309.