The Lake Oswego Public Library marked the end of its summer reading progam last week with a party in Rossman Park.
More than 60 kids and parents celebrated their literary accomplishments with games, prizes, face painting and a performance by Red Yarn — aka Andy Ferguson, the Oregon-based folk-rocker who dazzles young audiences with high-energy tunes, hilarious puppeteering and multicultural American folklore.
The event was part of the library's larger effort to encourage kids and teens to exercise their mental muscles during the summer months. Youth Services Manager Andrea Milano says the program is made possible by contributions from the Friends of the Lake Oswego Public Library.
"Our Friends of the Library organization this year hit $1 million that they've raised, and that money has all come back to programming for children and adults," Milano says. "They take our library to that next level."
At last week's event, children from infants to age 11 were eligible to receive a free book as part of the summer reading program. About 300 teens in grades 7-12 also received books as part of the library's teen reading program.
"We've got an amazing staff and an amazing collection. Being able to add on to that with these programs is just the icing on the cake," Milano says. "It's an amazing selection of books that keeps these kids coming back."
In her two years with the Lake Oswego Public Library, Milano says she has seen a small increase in summer reading participation. But the largest gain to the library's youth programming, she says, is how captivated the children are with their reading and the events the library is putting
"What we've really observed this summer is meaningful experiences. I feel as though the kids who are participating are engaged. They're being celebrated and rewarded so many times," Milano says. "Every time they come to the library, it's exciting for them to talk about what they're reading and what they're going to get."
Kids who completed the summer reading program are eligible for a grand prize drawing that will take place during a library staff meeting on Sept. 1. The grand prize this summer: a drone donated to the library by Ace Hardware.
For more information about the program, contact the library's Youth Services Desk at 503-697-6580.