As the last days of summer vacation inch closer, Lawrence Public Library staffers are celebrating the end (or near end, more accurately) of another successful Summer Reading Program.
The public is invited to join the party Thursday during a Summer Reading Last Bash on the lawn of the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St. While readers have until Aug. 20 to successfully log either their hours of reading or assigned number of books, Thursday’s event will celebrate those who already completed the program — and anyone else who wants to join in, too.
“It’s a community party celebrating reading and libraries, and if you happen to have participated in Summer Reading, then the party is for you, too,” says Lawrence Public Library marketing coordinator Heather Kearns, who recapped the library’s annual program as “a wonderful summer” despite dwindling participation in the kids’ category.
If the library’s youngest readers — infants through fifth-graders — hope to continue their longtime winning streak of out-reading teens and adults, Kearns says, they’ll “need to get cracking,” and soon.
As of July 27, the library counted 1,678 Summer Reading finishers in the kids’ category, which asks participants to read 12 books or for 30 hours total. That number represents a 1.4 percent increase from last year, but a 5.6 percent decrease from 2015.
Adults and teens, while still lagging in terms of total participants, are outpacing kids in growth, says Karen Allen, the library’s youth services coordinator. As of July 27, 501 teens — or, grades 6 through 12 — had completed the same number of books or reading hours as their younger counterparts. About as many adults had logged five books or 30 reading hours as of July 27, bringing the total number of Summer Reading finishers to 2,649.
Library staffers can only speculate about potential causes behind the dip in kids’ participation, Allen says, though she has a few theories.