PITTSFIELD, Maine — The Pittsfield Public Library, looking to broaden the reading horizons of its patrons, has introduced a Summer Reading Challenge for people of all ages.
The six-week challenge got under way Monday, and children, teenagers and adults are invited to give it a try, with the library focusing on a different genre every week.
“In the past, things have been: ‘How many books can you read?’” said librarian Lyn Smith. “We want them to expand, explore different kinds of reading. They can still read 10 science fiction books, but try reading one of something else.”
In addition to the challenge, there are plenty of summer activities for people of all ages going on at the library, including story time for children ranging from infants to 6 years of age from 10:15 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays, and the Lunch Bunch Book Club for youths entering grades 1-4, from noon to 1 p.m Tuesdays, in which kids can bring a lunch from home and travel the world through a story, book discussion and activity.
As for the challenge, numerous prizes are being offered for people of all ages, including ice cream from Big Bills in Pittsfield, and a Theater Snack Pack to the Pittsfield Community Theatre, and tickets to the Fort Western museum in Augusta and Portland Sea Dogs games.
“Every year for many years the Sea Dogs have donated tickets,” Smith said. “The kids can have a fun day.”
Smith said the whole idea of the challenge is to get people more enthusiastic about reading.
“Rather than asking them to read 10 books this summer or 50 books this summer, we’re asking them to read as much as they want, but to read at least five of different genres,” she said.
However, making sure people throughout the community enjoy themselves is a big factor as well.
“We try to make it fun for them,” Smith said. “I always read all the time when I was a kid.”
Different types of programs are also being offered on Thursdays, kicking off with a performance from magician Dan Baker at 5:30 p.m. this week, with other activities ranging from oragami sessions July 7 and a concert by Waterville native and award-winning children’s singer-songwriter Judy Pancoast on Aug. 4.
“We’ve already had somebody call in and say we’re going to be there for the magician,” Smith said.
Other offerings include a rockets program, sponsored by the Boston Museum of Science, set for July 14. Preregistration is required and space is limited. Two sessions, one from 2 to 2:50 p.m. and the other from 3 to 3:50 p.m., are available, and children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult. There will also be a clog dancing program on July 21 that features authentic and distinctive Irish and Scottish folk dancing.
All funding for the Thursday programs was provided by the Friends of the Library, Smith said.