Tweens (10-12)



Bookworm Summer Reading/Healthy Kids



We have partnered for the past five years with our local hospital, Adena Health System, and several other local organizations to provide a healthy component to our annual summer reading program, Bookworm. Children can work on health challenges as well as reading challenges, earning prizes for both.

Advanced Planning

We start planning for Bookworm/Healthy Kids about six to nine months in advance. We meet as a library team on a regular basis, and with the Healthy Kids team a bit closer to the kickoff date.

Adena Health System plans what the healthy activities will be, and they order prizes for each prize level. I have to say that we have this down to almost a science after five years! We do add and change details each year, but the process is generally the same.

The advantage to the library is being able to provide more interest and incentive to get kids reading and healthy at the same time. The advantage for the other organizations is that we already have a digital logging system in place for Bookworm, so all we had to do was to add the healthy component activities so they could be tracked as well.


We start promoting Bookworm/Healthy Kids in April with school visits to every school district in the county. This helps to get the children revved up, so they will remind their parents about the program.

Then, beginning in May, we use all our media, social media outlets, in-house fliers and posters to spread the information. We have many families who come back every year and children whose parents participated in Bookworm when they were children. But we strive to reach out to everyone at all our locations to bring in more families every year.


The Bookworm part of the program has a budget of around $9,000. That covers trophies; prize books; party and program supplies; and performers. However, the Healthy Kids part is all covered by our partner organizations.

Day-of-event Activity

This program lasts for eight weeks every summer, so there really is no single event that defines the program. We have an annual kickoff party where we have face painting, snow cones and a magician. It takes a couple hours to set up for the party, and we have around eight staff members and six to eight "VolunTeens" to help with everything from registration to face painting.

The kickoff party our biggest registration day, but online registration begins in May. No one may log any reading or activities until kickoff day, which is June 4 this year. 

Program Execution

Last year (2017) we registered over 2,000 people for the program. Of the 2,000, over 1,600 were children ages 0-12 and eligible for the Healthy Kids portion of the program.

As for the kickoff, we estimate that over 500 people attended that event. One of the grand prizes is a bicycle for each age group. The final party takes place at the end of eight weeks, and kids get trophies and coupon packets from many local businesses. But the best part is that they get a pool party at the city pool. Talk about healthy!

We have clearly established some valuable partnerships with community organizations, and continue to work to establish more. As a result of the healthy mentality this program has helped to promote, the library continues to partner with Adena and the YMCA, as well as the Ross County Ohio State University Extension. The Extension provides cooking and nutrition classes, among others, at several library locations. Several of our library locations are summer feeding sites, an important partnership with local social service agencies.

The Extension uses end-of-program surveys, and we use our circulation and registration numbers to evaluate the summer reading program. We also get advice and feedback from patrons. There is always an uptick in circulation during the Bookworm/Healthy Kids program every summer. All I can say is that our numbers have increased every year since the Healthy Kids component was added. 


It is usually very easy to reach out to local organizations and hospitals to create a partnership like this one. Adena had done a community assessment prior to our partnership, and found that, as a county, we needed to start doing things differently. Unfortunately, our community has had a need for more health education and healthy choices. We have been hit hard by the heroin epidemic, and that leaves a lot of children adrift. So it was easy to establish common goals in this program. 

We may have only had a small part in the community's health and well-being, but education is the first step! Our patrons have become more mindful of a healthy lifestyle, and we have learned a lot too, such as the correlation between healthy kids and literacy.

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