Summer reading programs for both children and adults hosted by the New Castle Public Library have started as schools close for the summer.
"A lot of parents enjoy that it kind of helps fight the summer slide the kids face," said Becky Proie, the library's supervisor for the youth services programs.
For every five books children or teens read, they can visit the library to collect a prize and a food coupon. After reading 20 books, though, participants will start receiving tickets for every five books they read for a chance to win one of the bigger prizes available such as a drone, a telescope or space-themed Legos.
"We have a lot of families that will team up if they have like five kids, and all of the kids will put in for the same prize because the family is really trying to win the odds," said Proie. "And it works. A lot."
For the past few years, the library has run an adult reading program for those parents who want to have a chance at winning some prizes too.
"They would come in with their kids and say, 'Hey do you have anything for the parents?,'" said Donna Maggie, the library's manager of the adult circulation department. "We tried it and it did well."
Anyone 18 years old or over can participate by checking out two books or audiobooks from the library and submitting their return receipt with their name, phone number and corresponding number to the prize they'd like to be entered to win. Adults can enter as many return receipts as they like, and can also submit them to win other prizes. Prizes include a Kindle, a free oil change and many different coupons and gift certificates from local businesses like Gallo's Italian Villa and Hugger Mugger.
In addition, any person who checks out a book belonging to the Out of this World collection of books preselected by library staff will receive two prize entries, a free book and bookmark.
"Over this past week, the people who are out of school already, they're coming in saying, 'Hey, can we sign up yet?' And we're like, 'Hold on! Wait until Saturday!" said Proie.
The kids and teens summer reading program kickoff begins at 10 a.m. today at the library in conjunction with Mad Science of Pittsburgh.
Only children who complete the program by reading 20 books will then be invited to Oh Wow! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children's Center for Science and Technology in Youngstown for the program wrap-up event. Teens will need to read only five magazines or articles for program completion.
Reading logs will be accepted until Aug. 2.
The adult reading program began Monday and will run until Aug. 19. Participants who sign up at the library will receives a free book bag.
Winners for the adult prizes will be drawn on Aug. 20.
This year's theme is A Universe of Stories, which was chosen in compliance with the National Informal Stem Education Network's Collaborative Summer Reading Program. The program chooses the theme each year for libraries around the country.
The New Castle Public Library has been in operation since 1910, and can be found at 207 E. North St.
"We like seeing people in the building. It really helps us to have programs available, and to have something to do during the summer," said Proie. "At the end of the day, the academic benefit is huge."