Learning beyond the classroom: Hutchinson Co. Library's Summer Reading Program a success

BORGER, TX (KFDA) - Kids in Hutchinson County are spending their summer learning outside of the classroom.

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"Some of the programs are things these students wouldn't experience any place else," said Judy Flanders, president of the Friends of the Hutchinson County Library.

The Summer Reading Program at the Hutchinson County Library – including the libraries in Borger, Stinnett and Fritch – already has hundreds of children signed up for the summer and includes different interactive presentations, prizes and more.

"We have the best attendance that we've had in many years and it just seems to get bigger and bigger every year," said Flanders.

The summer reading program encourages kids to come in and grab a book, open it up and start reading.

In order to participate, children have to turn in reading logs each week, showing they read for at least two hours a day.

"We have children that come in so excited to be able to get new books," said Ruth DeRosa, office manager at the Borger Library. "They want to know, 'Mom, can I get 10 books, can I get 12 books, how many books can I get this week' or children that cry because Mom says it's time to leave the library."

As the program continues to bring children into the libraries either excited to read or learn, it still needs funding to continue.

"We don't have a budget at all for summer reading program and so the program is fully funded by donations from local businesses and the book sales," said DeRosa.

To help run the program, a group known as 'The Friends of the Hutchinson County Library' puts on a biannual book sale to bring in funds.

"We have about two and a half days and people can come in and shop, we have fiction, we have gardening, we have craft books," said Flanders.

For most of the books, prices range from just over a dime to 50 cents for each book.

"You can get a lot of reading material for just a small price," said Flanders.

The book sales also increase the opportunities to read for not just children, but for adults, as well.

"Our overall mission is to encourage reading all ages and it's never too young to start," said Flanders.

As for the children, DeRosa says cracking open a book this summer sounds like a good place to start.

"What better way to spend some of those hours during summer months when it's too hot to go outside and play than to curl up inside in the cool air with a good book," said DeRosa.

The final summer reading program event of the summer is scheduled for July 24 at the libraries in Borger, Stinnett and Fritch, featuring a magical balloon show.

Past events this summer include other demonstrations with the Discovery Center and a drumming session with David Cox.

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