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With about 2,200 children participating, the library is ready to hand out prizes

Children who are hoping to wring every last bit of pleasure out of the summer’s ever-dwindling days should make note of one important ritual that is a lot more fun, for most, than shopping for back-to-school supplies: the culmination of the summer reading program at the Wilsonville Public Library.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Participants in Wilsonville Public Librarys summer reading program could have reading lists as long as this snake, which took part in a summer reading celebration on July 25.Youth Services Librarian Steven Engelfried said young readers who have completed their reading logs can pick up their prize packets between now and the end of August. The library is prepared, he said, to be innundated by prize-seeking readers.

“So far, we have had about 2,200 who have signed up” for the summer reading program, Engelfried said. That number includes kids and teens. “This year, we’re a bit higher than we’ve been for the past couple of years. We’re excited about it.”

Typically, Engelfried said, only about half those who sign up actually complete the program and show up at the library to claim their prizes. That means he’s hoping, he said, for between 1,100 and 1,200 readers — although he said that he would be thrilled to accommodate more.

“That would be great,” he said. “We will definitely not run out of books or coupons or anything.”

To qualify for prizes, readers must complete a reading log that shows they read for a minimum of 20 minutes a day for 20 days. Readers who qualify receive free prizes that include a new paperback book, purchased with support from the Friends of Wilsonville Public Library and a state grant called Ready to Read. Readers also receive a certificate of completion and a packet of coupons that businesses around town and the county have contributed. The coupons can be redeemed for adventures or appetizing options including juice, pizza and much more.

“The kids are very excited when they pick out their books, and that’s always great to see,” Engelfried said.

The Wilsonville library’s summer reading program is similar to those offered by libraries around the county. However, Wilsonville’s program boasts one distinct difference: In addition to their reading logs, children can also pick up science logs that, when completed, entitles them to even more prizes.

“It’s something different,” Engelfried said. “We’re the only library I know of that does this. ... Over the summer, we ask kids to do 10 different science activities. These can be almost anything. We provide them with a booklet that was created by one of our local teachers that has a lot of ideas of things they can do.”

Options include complicated projects like making a chemical volcano, he said, but also simple things like taking a nature walk, identifying birds or seeing what lives under a rock.

“It’s really for all ages,” Engelfried said.

Students who complete science logs earn a different set of prizes, including two large test tubes.

“One of them has materials for an experiment, crystals and seeds, so they can do a growing experiment,” Engelfried said. There is also a book with information about other experiments.

The library’s special emphasis on science may seem like a departure from the traditional purpose of summer reading programs. Engelfried said the connection actually is an important one.

“Science is really just learning about the world around you,” he said. “When we are encouraging kids to read, a lot of their reading does just that. We think of ourselves as not just a reading place but a learning place.”

The library hosted a celebration of its summer reading program at Murase Plaza on July 25, featuring the Reptile Man.by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The Reptile Man brought many friends, including this snapping turtle, to the librarys summer reading celebration on July 25.

“He is such a big draw,” Engelfried said, estimating that about 450 people attended the free event, which was sponsored by Fred Meyer of Wilsonville.

The library is hosting one more event this summer, a science adventure celebration, on Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m. The one-hour event is free and open to the public, with no advance reservations required.

The Wilsonville library is located at 8200 SW Wilsonville Road. For more information, call 503-682-2744 or look online at www.wilsonvillelibrary.org.

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