By: Susan Fisher, Muncie Public Library—
Muncie, IN—Muncie Public Library (MPL) is joining forces with Motivate Our Minds and other community organizations serving youth to encourage reading all summer long. “Yes We Care! Reading Everywhere!” is the initiative’s name. Volunteers for the effort met recently at Kennedy Library to plan and promote their activities. “We truly do care about the youth in this community,” said Mary Dollison, a community volunteer. “This initiative will let us reach out to and encourage youth and their families during the summer months.” Dollison is also active in Supporting Our Students, a grassroots project that offers encouragement to Muncie Community School students throughout the academic year.
The organizers hope to encourage everyone to read at least 15 minutes a day. The project will ask families, organizations, and businesses to pledge to read for 15 minutes every day throughout the summer.
The initiative will also serve as a clearinghouse to publicize the many fun and educational programs available to children and adults during the summer months, such as the Muncie Public Library Summer Reading Program for babies, children, teens, and adults. A list of community events and programs that encourage reading and literacy and other activities such as free lunches, will be available in a printed form at participating organizations and as a link on the MPL website at www.munciepubliclibrary.org.
“We tried to include a wide variety of events,” said Akilah S. Nosakhere, MPL Director. “Some of the camps and activities do have costs associated with them, but there are lots of free activities also.” Nosakhere said the list will be updated as needed. Organizations wishing to have events included on the list can use the “Contact Us” link on the library website.
One strategy the group will use to encourage reading is to have local “celebrities” such as politicians, community and business leaders, teachers, firefighters, police officers and more participate in “guerrilla reading.” These readers will pop up at local events with books, eReaders, and phones in hand to demonstrate how much they enjoy reading. “Be on the lookout for readers wearing bright orange hats and t-shirts,” said Nosakhere. She explained that the idea for guerrilla reading was borrowed from guerrilla marketing, a concept created by author and marketer Jay Conrad Levinson in his book, Guerrilla Advertising. The concept encourages low cost and no cost creative ideas that create buzz to promote an idea or product.
Nosakhere said that the bottom line for the “Yes We Care” initiative is simple, “We want to do what we can to instill a love of reading in our young people,” she said. “A love of reading opens the door for success at school and in life.”