Oak Park: 'Fun, familiar, safe' summer reading

To keep everyone safe and reading for fun, the Oak Park Public Library has gone virtual with this year's summer reading program. And while it looks different this year, kids and families are still getting the tangible benefits of reading and earning prize beads.

'The bead delivery was so joyful in our home'

For every hour spent reading, kids have been earning virtual badges and beads to build a necklace or keychain. By the end of July, we'll have delivered 16,000 beads to homes around Oak Park, and staff will continue to deliver them all summer.

"In a time when a lot has changed for kids, the fact that summer reading is for fun has not," said Nora Flynn, parent of a 9-year-old participant. "We're really grateful that [the library] created a way to keep the summer reading program fun and familiar, while also being safe. The bead delivery was so joyful in our home—thank you!"

Not just books: Kids are doing creative projects & challenges

"Dear Professor Slughorn,

I love watching you when I am at the library for a few minutes. I really miss you. Can you send me a selfie?"

—Ian, summer reading participant

Professor Slughorn, the library's pet gerbil, has been living with Librarian Genevieve Grove since March, when library buildings closed.

Kids are staying in touch with him, though, by writing letters and sending drawings, and receiving responses! Like Ian's request for a gerbil selfie, and Maggie's picture about Molly, the American Girl Doll she's read all the books about.

Other challenges kids are doing include making up silly songs, spelling their names with sand, sticks, grass, and other nature items, and recreating museum artifacts and more out of LEGOs.

Like Roger and Eden, who built a LEGO library, complete with fish tanks and a bookmobile! Their family even started a local Facebook group with daily LEGO challenges.

"Thank you for all you guys are doing to stay connected with the community," their parent wrote to us when sharing photos of their awesome LEGO library.

See photos and learn more about this year's summer reading program »

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