Summer Reading Program enriches children’s lives

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I enjoyed Carroll County Public Library Director Hillary Arney remembering her Summer Reading Pro-gram experiences at the library when she was a child. The reference in her column last week  to the large banana split brought a smile to my face.


It was my first year as director of the public library; in fact, I had only been working there since the first of June and jumped right in with our reading program. 

I don’t remember the exact theme that year, but it had something to do with a gorilla. Children turned in reading lists throughout the six weeks of the program and Ann Dunn and I put up yellow construction paper bananas for each reading list submitted.

The large window across the front of the library and the entire wall of the children’s section was covered. (In those days, there were only two of us working inside at the library and we had a bookmobile librarian on the road most days. On Saturdays, just one of us kept the library open. Imagine that today.)

Our last activity was that big banana split. I was building a new house at the time and brought in a length of the gutter that had not yet been installed.  I think we put two tables together to hold it, but my  memory could be faulty.  Ann and I lined the gutter with foil, then filled it with bananas and scoops of vanilla ice cream. 

We must have had a table full of toppings for the young readers to finish their creations. I know for sure that they ate quite a bit, but at the end, we still had a lot leftover.

It was my bright idea for the summer readers to walk in the tobacco festival parade dressed as their favorite story book characters. I think Ann drove the bookmobile and we all walked in front on a very warm day.  I had my standard poodles, Rosie and Daisy, on leashes leading the way. Hillary and her sister, Heather, were right beside me, dressed as princesses, I believe. Ann’s daughter Amy Dunn was there, as well as many others who now have children of their own. There are pictures in albums at the library showing all of us making our way from the high school parking lot along Highland Avenue to the parade’s end.

Scores of readers came to the Summer Reading Program over the years.  Several of them continued with us at the library as pages during their high school years and have met with great success in college and beyond.

Becky Woods, a popular math teacher at Carroll County High School, brought her children to the Summer Reading Program every year and once told me she believes much of the success her two and other children was helped along by the stimulation they received during their summers at the library. 

Carroll County is fortunate to have a library with a staff that goes to great lengths to provide enriching programs that help youngsters keep up their reading levels over the summer and have fun doing it.

Leslie Sutherland is an award winning children’s librarian and she works for months ahead of time making sure that the weeks of the Summer Reading Program will be filled.

We always thanked the parents at the end of each summer because parents and grandparents take the time to make sure their children are signed up and attend.


Jarrett Boyd is the retired director of Carroll County Public Library and resides in Madison, Ind.