Athol Public Library Summer Reading Program deemed a big success

Staff Report
Published: 9/3/2020 2:19:38 PM
Modified: 9/3/2020 2:19:29 PM

ATHOL — When the library started planning this year’s Summer Reading Program, Imagine Your Story, the staff imagined in-person events and a library full of people and sounds — and then COVID-19 forced the town to close the building to the public. Staff were determined to re-think everything they had planned and provide a fun and robust experience for the community. Thanks to the library’s hardworking staff and amazing patrons, Summer Reading at the Athol Public Library was a huge success, Assistant Director Robin Shtulman said in a press release.

The library hosted online story times, book group, and Lego Club. Library staff created engaging craft and Learn and Play videos that can still be seen on YouTube.

So many readers participated at our Friends Book Bag giveaway, at curbside pick-up, and on Beanstack, the library’s online reading tracking module.

Two hundred and forty-four people registered for the 2020 Summer Reading Program. The Athol community read nearly double the library’s goal of 100,000 minutes. Kids read 50,461 minutes. Teens read 51,930 minutes. And adults read 88,774 minutes. That’s a total of 3,186 hours.

Readers shared their thoughts with the community by writing 307 book reviews.

Patrons also enjoyed earning badges through summer reading activities. A total of 2,588 badges were awarded. Adults earned 1,040 badges. The most popular adult badges were the Boston Public Library ecard badge, the Create a Goodreads Account badge, and the Make the Census Count badge. Teen favorites were Reading Around the Realm, Self-Care, and Shape Your Story. Kids loved the Enchanted Forest, Good Neighbor, and Castle Engineer badges.

Every week, the library put together take-home kits for kids and teens. We gave away 228 kits to kids and 324 to teens.

And Athol readers are adventurous with reading! The library’s surprise book bundles were a big hit. Patrons asked for a bag of books connected by theme or format, and the creative library staff hand selected interesting and beautiful books by which readers were surprised and delighted. The library had 67 kids’ bundle requests and 55 teen requests in just five weeks.

Watch today at 4

Library staff put together a video celebrating the community’s summer reading achievements, which will premiere on Facebook Live today, Sept. 3, at 4 p.m. Patrons who watch the live premiere will get a chance to enter in a drawing for a tote bag by sharing their favorite thing about summer reading. After premiering, the video will be available to view at any time on the library’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

The fun isn’t over yet: Patrons can look for brand new take home kits, virtual programming, new Beanstack reading challenges, prizes, and more coming this fall!

The Athol Public Library Summer Reading program was made possible by support from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Boston Bruins, Valuing Our Children, and the Friends of the Athol Public library.

Do you have questions about what services are currently available at the library? Call 978-249-9515 or email

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