These young readers in East Glacier are happy to get to read the 72 new children’s books that arrived through a book grant from the Pilcrow Foundation.

The foundation’s mission is to recognize the importance of public libraries in rural communities. Their mission statement is: “The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, that is simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to these books and letting them read.”

After a COVID year of being closed, the East Glacier Park Library is now open with a new paint job and these new books for young readers.

One of the most popular summertime activities for the kids is the Summer Reading Program offered through Glacier County Libraries. And after some quick planning, it’s back again this summer!

The Summer Reading Program is a way to get kids to spend time reading throughout their three-month hiatus from school. It encourages them to pick up books, read them, record what they have read and then be in the running for prizes each week as well as a grand prize at the end of the program.

The program is also for adults, encouraging them to spend time reading too, be it to their children or for their own enjoyment. There are four different age groups participating in the program that runs from June 7 through the middle of August. The age groups are 0-4, 5-11, 12-17 and 18 and up. 

 To get started, participants will want to sign up for the program. Signups started on Friday, June 4, but kids and adults sign up anytime throughout the run of the program. The earlier you are involved, the better your chances for winning prizes.

“Summer reading participants and their parents may come to the Glacier County Library in Cut Bank during open hours to register. And participants living in Browning may sign up through the Google Form link that will be posted on the Browning Branch Library Facebook page, since the Browning Library is open for only very limited hours at this time,” explained Austin Castle, Interim Library Director. 

Both reading records and book review forms that are used to log the books that have been read, will be handed out at the time of registration. For those registering on-line, a pick-up time will be scheduled so they too can receive the necessary forms. If you prefer, those forms can be emailed to you, but you will need to have the ability to print them from the email. 

The hours the Glacier County Library in Cut Bank is open is 12-2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 12:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The Browning Branch Library will be open for limited services 9-11:30 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to Noon on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Summer Reading Program used by the Glacier County Library comes from the Collaborative Summer Library Program. The Montana State Library is a member of that program which provides materials to be used for all Summer Reading Programs, free of charge to libraries in our state. The 2021 Summer Reading Program theme is “Tails and Tales.”

In addition, Friends of the Library member LeAnne Kavanagh wrote two grants, one for the Cut Bank branch library and one for the Browning branch, which will provide $1,000 of free books for children in both Cut Bank and Browning. The grants were funded by the Town Pump Charitable Foundation’s “Keep Kids Reading” program. Watch for more details on this program in a future issue.

“The Summer Reading Program is vitally important to the children of our county because it helps prevent what is known as the summer slide. Summer slide is when a child’s reading level begins to decline during the summer months due to lack of reading practice when school is not occurring,” explained Castle. “The program helps incentivize children to continually practice their reading skills. Our hope for our program is to instill a lifelong love of reading in all of our participants.”

Usually funding for this program comes through the normal channels of the library’s budget with the county. That however, is not an option this year. Knowing that, the Friends of the Library has stepped up and will provide funds for the prizes awarded to the readers in the program. Additional prizes may also come from generous community members, organizations and businesses.

If you would like to support the Summer Reading Program by making a donation to it, or providing prizes for the participants, please call (406) 873-4572.

While the library staff does not yet know what kind of prizes they will be giving out each week, they do want everyone to “keep reading and you will be able to get prizes that you have earned when they become available.” Drawings for prizes occur each week and a drawing from eligible participants will occur for a grand prize that will be given away at the end of the program for each age group.

“For each book you finish reading, fill out a book review and return it to one of the Glacier County Libraries and you will be entered into the drawing for your age group. Each book review is one entry so the more books you read, the better chance you have to win a prize,” reminded Castle.

If you have any questions about the program or services the libraries are able to provide, Castle suggested calling either (406) 873-4572 in Cut Bank or (406) 338-7105 in Browning. You can also email your questions to pgclibrary@hotmail.com or gcl.browning@gmail.com. “And follow our Facebook pages to stay updated on library details and any changes to the schedule,” he concluded.

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