The Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Montana, hosted a summer reading program this year that was as simple as read, track, return, and receive.
Participants were encouraged to pick up a bookmark at Country Bookshelf to keep track of their reading, read six books, and return the bookmark to receive a prize. There was no limit to the number of completed bookmarks participants could enter, and all ages were welcome to participate.
Carson Evans, events coordinator for the store, says they created the program as a follow-up to the ABA’s summer reading program, which they had participated in over the last few years. “For some reason the ABA did not do one this year, but we had so many people asking about it that we decided to create our own,” she says. “We made a few changes to what the program had been in recent years–most notably we allowed adults to participate in what had previously been a kid-only thing. Our web designer Heather was the mastermind behind the details and the design of the bookmarks.”
The store has received about 60 completed bookmarks so far, all by children. “The adult aspect didn’t really take off,” Evans says. “I think people were already too familiar with the idea of this being a kid thing.” She says she is most surprised by the volume of books kids can read; several children have already turned in five or six completed bookmarks.
The reading challenge is promoted through their website and email newsletter, but most of the promotion happens right at the counter. “When a kid comes to checkout with a pile of books we give them a bookmark and let them know the details (free book if you finish!). This goes very well, and I would guess that the majority of entrants found out this way,” says Evans. “We don’t really promote it like this to adults, which could be part of the reason that that aspect hasn’t gotten much traction.”
The store plans to host an end of summer party on September 5.