The Montgomery County Libraries in Maryland kicked off its Summer Reading Challenge with lots of festivities on June 17.
The event included music from Ghanaian drummer and storyteller Kofi Dennis, storytime led by Maranda Schoppert of Germantown Library and a meet-and-greet with Read to a Dog service dogs.
The challenge is offered to provide local kids and teens the opportunity to read books and participate in activities. This year, the theme is “All Together Now,” which was created to promote kindness, friendship and unity within the Montgomery County community.
To participate in the challenge kids and teens can login onto the READsquare app or sign up at their local library.
“Friends of the Library make a donation to the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center and Friends of Montgomery County Animals,” said Tyler Chadwell-English, who serves as the teen services manager for MCPL.
The animal services and adoption center is one of the six local organizations partnering with MCPL. Partnering with the animal services and adoption center is to help animals find their forever homes.
Other Organizations partnering with MCPL include the Washington Nationals, Manna Food Services and Montgomery County Parks.
The Washington Nationals provided vouchers that MCPL will give out to participants who make it to the midway portion of the challenge. The voucher includes two free tickets to a regular season baseball game.
“This is our first time actually working with the library,” said Maria Anselmo, who works with the media Inquiries and community partnerships department for the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center. “They were looking to promote their theme of kindness this year.”
The animal services and adoption center attended the kickoff party, handing out stickers and information about the organization.
Participants can earn an Animal All-Star e-badge. There are two other badges that include a Kindness Rockstar badge. This will help provide meals to families through Manna Food Center and the Planeteer badge that will help local parks in using solar energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This badge is through Montgomery County Parks.
Those in the teen category ages (13-17) have the opportunity to win a Nintendo Switch Bundle and an Xbox Series S Bundle. They will participate in the challenge by completing a bingo board that has numerous activities on it to complete.
“It helps to foster a love of reading through the public library programs and services,” said Cassandra Malik, who serves as the early literacy and children’s services program manager for MCPL and she is the chair for the summer reading committee. “It’s also a great way to get families involved in the summer reading experience.”
Last year, MCPL had the highest registration total that they’ve had over eight years, which was almost 13,000 participants. Their goal this year is to equal or surpass that total. So far, there are more than 8,700 participants signed up.
The challenge offers an inclusive approach, providing different languages so others can participate.
“We have the most diverse county in Maryland and we have this incredible richness of cultural diversity and we’re hoping that by offering our program in six languages that we’re going to be bringing folks together,” said English.
The challenge will conclude on Aug. 31.