Library summer club sets record

Hundreds turn out Friday, June 9, 2017, for the Longview Public Library Summer Reading Club Kickoff Party. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

Longview Public Library is reporting record-breaking participation in its ongoing Summer Reading Club.

So far, at least 2,090 young people have signed up for the seasonal drive that promotes reading during summer months when local schools are out of classes. Youth Services Supervisor Jenna Yeakley said the number already beats the previous record of 1,922 set last year, an increase of 8.7 percent.

In the past week, more than 270 young people have registered, she said. Registration ends July 19.

Library Director Jennifer Eldridge and her staff were recognized by Mayor Andy Mack at a City Council meeting Thursday at City Hall.

"The Longview Public Library is excited to see continued growth and rising numbers in the children's department," Yeakley said. "We recently had our biggest kickoff party yet on the library plaza. Within the two hours, 2,400 people came to celebrate the beginning of Summer Reading Club."

So far this season, the library has counted 211,648 visitors and 286,345 transactions, according to the city of Longview. Among its 57,130 borrowers, more than 10,780 are children.

The Summer Reading Club attracts young readership with story time activities, video games, movies, Legos, live performances and an end-of-season party. It has raised about $18,000 in donations, Yeakley said.

Staff members honored Thursday included Yeakley, Nita Dennis, Mackenzie Hunter, Carol Lyon, Chanomi Maxwell-Parish, Kevin Pineda and Jesse Davis.

"During Summer Reading Club, they provide free events and incentives to keep children reading and learning even though school is out," Yeakley said. "Their goal is for children to enter the school year on or above their grade's reading level so they don't experience a summer slide in their learning."