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Summer reading program's virtual offerings celebrated

Summer reading program's virtual offerings celebrated

A few technical hiccups couldn’t stop youth from earning prizes through this year’s Gretna Public Library summer reading program.

Though offerings moved completely virtual due to public health concerns, 142 children and teens fully completed the program, receiving smaller prizes along the way to a grand prize of two books to keep.

“That is a small number compared to most years, but we understand that there were many reasons why people might have chosen not to participate this year,” said Jennifer Lockwood, children’s librarian.

Participants were able to track reading online this year, through a new platform READsquared, eliminating the need to pick up or return booklets in person. All community sponsors remained dedicated to offering prizes to areas readers.

Most performances were able to be held digitally, along with numerous virtual book clubs, storytimes and craft presentations.

The traditional wrap-up visit by Wildlife Encounters remained the most popular children’s program, even virtually.

“They are a local favorite,” Lockwood said.

In its second year, 52 participants joined the Adult Summer Learning BINGO and 178 people attended virtual adult-oriented events in both June and July.

Adult services librarian Ashley Suey said while it was difficult to rework program ideas for a digital platform, the turnout was still enjoyable.

“I think the online programs have been received well for the most part,” Suey said. “We are getting engagement from the community, which is always greatly appreciated, so I like to think positively on that. I am grateful for the love and support that we get from our community.”

Book art and modeling chocolate videos proved most popular among adults, as did a month-long digital escape room for adults and teens.

“We’ve heard good things about the program we delivered this summer,” Lockwood said. “Our patrons have been very flexible with all the changes; we are all learning together.”

Though the buildings remain closed, the library continues to offer online programs for all ages. Curbside service is also to all library card holders. For more information, visit

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