The Perry Public Library kick started its annual summer reading program on May 15, focusing on a goal to “Build a Better World.” The free program is open to the public with age groups ranging from birth to fifth grade, teens, as well as an adult category.

This year, the Library will host a kick-off on Saturday, June 3, called the Summer Reading KidsFest. According to a press release submitted by the Perry Public Library, “the event will include family-friendly activities such as face-painting, a petting zoo, walking magic show, scavenger hunt, card-stacking, bingo, balloon animals, ‘carnival games,’ a construction theme photo-op, crafts and more.”

The summer reading program is one of the largest programs for the library, Children’s Librarian, Suzanne Kestel says.

The program aids to the educational gap that falls during the summertime, encouraging participants to both read books to later earn prizes as well as get the opportunity to attend age-group specific events throughout the summer.

Suzanne Kestel will be tending to the birth to fifth-grade section, Deputy Library Director Misty Von Behren will lead the teen group and Director Mary Murphy will work with the adult group.

“We enjoy having the children come to the program so its educational and social,” Suzanne Kestel Children’s Librarian said. “It definitely addresses the summer slide; it’s been researched pretty well.”

Kester will oversee the fifth-grade section’s goal of introducing several programs involving construction, reading books based around the theme of building, and having frequent activities.

In order to work towards prizes, readers in the children’s group must keep track of their minutes spent reading. The largest prizes includes two box of Legos and a Lego manual as well as a one-night stay in the kids suite at the Hotel Pattee.

“We get a lot right at first [readers joining the program] when it opens and then we have another spike when school gets out,” Kester said.”I usually have between 460 and 475 children register.”

The teen participants will be able eligible for a grand prize if they complete the following tasks: read and complete a book review, attend a teen library program, completely a weekly building challenge, and complete a ‘build a better world’ task.

The teen program grand prize is a Kindle Fire, as well as prizes throughout the week.

The adult program includes book reviews for the grand prize which include a Kindle Fire tablet, $50 in Perry Bucks, and a Hotel Pattee stay.

The theme of the summer reading program is developed through the American Library Association, an organization which provides ideas and potential activities to each library for their specific program.

Registration for the free program can be done online or at the Perry Public Library. Anyone is able to join the program and are able to sign-up at any time.