FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Allen County Public Library’s (ACPL) 2021 Summer Learning Program (SLP) wrapped up Saturday with millions of reading minutes logged by community members and staff.
The program’s goal is to prevent summer slide, which is the loss of knowledge and learning that happens when children are not in school and actively learning, ACPL said. Due to the pandemic, library staff knew this summer was a way to provide additional support and resource for students who had fallen behind over the past year.
“As an organization we responded by deepening partnerships with area school systems to promote SLP and the importance of reading. We approached our programs with a focus on STEM and STEAM. And we continued to support other community organizations still grappling with the reality of COVID” said Stephanny Smith, Community Development Director.
Highlights from the 2021 Summer Learning Program:
- 8,500,000 reading minutes logged by the community
- 350,000 minutes logged by staff
- 11,600 participants
- 13,000 To-Go Programs distributed
- 300 outreach programs delivered
- 1,000 book reviews written by participants
- 17,000 prizes distributed
- 18,000 Free Lunches for youth
- 42,000 activities completed
The library said this year looked different from past years with Team Read: area teenagers who fan out across the community, visiting parks, summer clubs and ACPL branches to read with and to children at those locations. The teenagers also participate in “Adulting 101” sessions to learn important life skills such as how to fill out a time card, showing up to work on time, being part of a team and conflict resolution. Last year, Team Read was canceled due to COVID.
This summer 17 teens from eight different schools worked at their neighborhood libraries three days a week, ACPL said. Two days a week Team Readers connected over Zoom to children at Boys and Girls Cub and Concordia Summer Camp and listened to training presentations from a variety of community organizations. Team Readers also participated in their own Facilities Master Planning Session facilitated by Susan Baier, ACPL’s Executive Director.
This year’s theme was “Tales & Tails,” and a donor pledged a gift to Humane Fort Wayne if the community achieved ACPL’s reading goal of 10 million minutes. Though the goal was not met, the donor told the library that they will still make the contribution to Humane FW.
“The donor believes that data alone does not capture the full impact of the library’s efforts, especially in a summer as important as this one. We’re thrilled that we will still be able to support Humane Fort Wayne through the Summer Learning Program,” Smith said.