Monticello library kicks of Summer Reading

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     With temperatures warming up it’s beginning to feel more like summer. With that in mind, the Monticello Public Library is kicking off the annual Summer Reading Program.

     Registration began May 30 and ends Saturday, June 24. Stop in the library to sign up now.

     The SRP runs through Saturday, Aug. 12. That is the last day participants can turn in their BINGO sheets for prizes.

     The theme for this summer’s reading program is “Build a Better World.” It’s tailored to people of all ages. The SRP’s early literacy program “helps young children build reading and language skills.” The children’s program “prepares children for success by developing early language skills. The teen program “motivates teens to read and discuss literature.” The adult program “encourages adults to experience the joy of reading.”

     Last year, Monticello Librarian Penny Schmit said there were 450 people who took part in the SRP. A week into registration, and almost 200 people have signed up.

     “The numbers have been pretty consistent,” said Schmit. In the first day alone, 99 people signed up for the SRP.

     Everyone who signs up receives a BINGO sheet with various tasks to complete. Each BINGO sheet is specific to the age group. Adults just have to fill their BINGO card by the end of the program to be eligible for a grand prize. Children and teens will receive two BINGO cards.

     Once you get a BINGO, bring your card into the library for verification and you can enter the prize drawing. Prizes will be awarded on June 26 and again July 31.

     There will also be weekly smaller prizes for Summer Reading participants.

     Schmit said many local businesses have been great in donating toward the SRP, whether monetary or actual prizes such as gift certificates. She also reached out to businesses from Dubuque to Cedar Rapids for prizes as well.

     “The prizes are the most expensive part of the program,” explained Schmit. “I’d say about a quarter of the prizes are donated; we purchase the rest.”

     The Friends of the Library group is a huge asset to the SRP, providing funds and helping to cover the cost of the performers and speakers throughout the summer.

     The library is also partnering with Jones County ISU Extension and Outreach this summer.

     “We’ve been working together over the past two years or so,” said Schmit. “We use each others’ resources to benefit the library and community.”

     Schmit said it takes a lot of planning to pull off a successful SRP. In fact, it all starts in the late fall with a statewide workshop Schmit attends to get ideas for the SRP from other libraries across the state.

     “We brainstorm ideas for different size libraries,” she said.

     There are numerous speakers, presenters and performers lined up for this year’s SRP:

     • Absolute Science on June 28 will include science experiments.

     • The Grout Museum will show how machines better our lives.

     • Author Mary Kenyon will conduct a class on how to write a short memoir. Kenyon has written many books about her family.

     “She’s an example of a successful, local author,” said Schmit.

     There will also be two sessions of escape challenges after-hours inside the library. The first session is on June 30 for tweens and teens, with a family challenge on July 7. Schmit explained participants will have to solve puzzles and riddles in order to get clues for the next challenge. The clues will be hidden throughout the library, hence the need to have the program after-hours.

     Aside from special programs held during the day and evening, the library also has regularly-scheduled events such as Movie Mondays, Drop-in Craft Fridays, and Build a Better Snack on Tuesdays.

     “We have activities almost every day, all day, for some age range,” offered Schmit. “We have something going on all the time for families to do.”

     Schmit will also be visiting the Monticello Farmers Market on June 17 and July 8 with stories and crafts for kids to do.

     “It’s part of our outreach, informing people about the library,” said Schmit.

     For a complete list of programs for all ages to enjoy, stop in the library for a calendar or visit their Facebook page or website (


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