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Teens getting 'N2 BKS'

Program offers readers chance at prizes, gift cards

Program offers readers chance at prizes, gift cards

July 02, 2007|By SHANNON EPPS

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of stories about summer activities for children.




HAGERSTOWN - During the summer, many young people spend their days hanging out at the mall or seeing the newest movies.

But these outings can become expensive after awhile, and Kelli Meyer, 11, says she would rather do something for free. At Washington County Free Library, she's having fun and earning the chance to enjoy other summer activities at no cost.

Kelli recently joined the library's summer reading program, "N2 BKS." Like similar programs, it encourages summer reading. But there's a twist: it's set up as a game, and participants who finish receive prizes and have their names entered into a raffle for gift cards.

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"I think it's a pretty good attempt at trying to make this fun and exciting for kids," said Jeff Ridgeway, head of children's services at the library.

The program, "N2 BKS" (into books), is part of the statewide summer reading program, "Reading Road Trip." Participants receive a game board when they sign up, and complete nine tasks related to taking a trip and exploring new ideas. After completing four tasks, participants are rewarded with a small prize.

Kelli, who participated in last year's program, says she likes this year's theme.

"I like taking road trips, and this (program) is involving a road trip, and it sounds interesting," she said.

Aside from the nine tasks, the program requires participants to read 10 books of their choosing.

"We want them to want to continue their reading during the summer, and rather than attacking it like a school assignment, we want them to relax and just find things that they're interested in," Ridgeway said.

About 100 children are signed up for "N2 BKS" at the central library. The program is open to participants as young as age 10, but it targets teenagers.

"The structure of this lends itself more to teens, and I think the graphics that are on the game board are more young adult," Ridgeway said. "So we're hoping that we get more young adults to take advantage of it."

Participants who complete the program receive raffle tickets for $30 gift cards to Regal Cinemas, GameStop, Prime Outlets, Borders Books, Circuit City, Dick's Sporting Goods, Pottery By Me, Old Navy and Family Recreation Park. A grand prize has yet to be announced.

Kelli said the program is more convenient than other summer activities.

"This one is actually free," she said, and she lives close to the library.

The last day to complete the program is Aug. 31, but participants who finish by Aug. 17 will receive tickets for free admission to a Hagerstown Suns game that evening. The tickets also allow four others to be admitted to the game at a discounted price.

Laura Gross, assistant librarian for the children's department, said the program exposes participants to other services the library offers.

"We have ... a lot of different resources that they probably don't know that we even have here, which is a really nice thing about the club," she said. "It maybe shows them that reading, or the library, is a lot more than what they think that it is."

Ridgeway agreed that the program allows the participants to embrace new ideas.

"It's an opportunity to branch out and do a lot of different things this summer," he said.

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