Mamie's Place Children's Library's summer reading challenge is not meant to be a chore.
"Kids think it's going to be a competition or it's going to be like school, but it's not. It's going to be fun," library assistant Theresa Holley said. "That's what we want them to know — it's going to be fun."
From now until June 11, kids can sign up at Mamie's Place or via Alexander City's Beanstack profile to participate in virtual activities and win prizes for reading 10 books or more.
For those who need extra convincing, the library is hosting a Summer Reading Kick-Off Monday, June 7 at the Sportplex Gym featuring Gutsy the Flying Fox, the trampoline-basketball entertainer.
Despite the word "challenge" in the name, however, the program is not a sporting event, and there's no grand prize for reading the greatest number of books — that would defeat the purpose, library assistant Melissa Finley said.
"We won't just single people out because we won't want any kids to feel like 'I couldn't achieve that,'" Finley said. "We just try to give them certificates, the ones that do go above."
That's not to say some patrons have made their own competition out of it in the past, with two last year each logging over 100 books.
"It was a brother and sister; they were competing against each other," Finley said. "And we actually had daycares competing against each other too last year. It's whatever motivates kids."
The difficulty level of the books also doesn't matter — again, this isn't school, Finley said.
"When they get to a certain level, it's about trying to meet that goal instead of actually enjoying what they're reading," she said. "So it's just whatever they choose and it doesn't have to be books from (this library)."
That's not to say there aren't added perks for visiting Mamie's Place Children's Library. For each day of the week they check out a book, kids are entered into a prize drawing. The library is also holding events nearly every week — not as many as before the pandemic, but these have been supplemented with additional virtual activities.
"I just want to emphasize that it's not a challenge, and they do not have to read a boatload of books just to win a prize," Holley said.
See below for a full list of events:
• June 3 — Storytime with Lemon the Service Dog, Mamie's Place Children's Library, 10 a.m.
• June 7 — Summer Reading Kick-Off, Sportplex Gym, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
• June 17 — Movie Day, Mamie's Place Children's Library, 2 p.m.
• June 22 — Mr. Larry's Magic, Mamie's Place Children's Library, 10 a.m.
• June 30 — Animal Tales, Mamie's Place Children's Library, 10 a.m.
• July 15 — Movie Day, Mamie's Place Children's Library, 2 p.m.
• July 22 — Summer Reading Finale, Sportplex Gym, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.