This past summer the innovative staff in eleven of our Institutional Libraries tried something new. They formed a Summer Reading Program for the inmates and patients. Starting with the theme “Spark a Reaction” used in Public Libraries around the country. Every month had a theme. In June: Controversies & Music; July: Science Fiction Trivia; and in August: Spark a Reaction Chemistry. The inmates and patients were encouraged to keep a reading log of all the books they read, number of pages per book and if they were interested, to write a book review. Each month’s theme had an activity/trivia sheet to fill out which corresponded to the monthly theme. The activities went very well and the inmates were excited about filling the sheets out. Each person received a certificate of participation for books and pages read, and for each activity they participated in with three possible certificates: books, pages logged and activities. Participants also received great bookmarks that had the theme “Spark a Reaction” on them, some in English and some in Spanish.
And now… the numbers. Around Washington State, 3,337 books, a total of 1,822,015 pages were read by 586 participants. 23 Book reviews were written, 233 trivia sheets were filled out and 172 certificates were handed out. But best of all everyone had fun. As Sharon Brewer, Library Associate at the Washington Corrections Center Branch Library said, “This was our first time doing the ILS Summer Reading Program and I believe it was a great success! “
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