According to a 2020 study from Gallup, “Visiting the library remains the most common cultural activity Americans engage in.” The study states that the average U.S. adult makes 10.5 trips to the library a year, while making just 5.3 trips to the movie theater. In 2019, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) totaled over 1.1 million visitors, while SCLSNJ.org totaled over 7 million pageviews.
Although we cannot be together physically, SCLSNJ wants to challenge you to read more, learn more, connect more, and experience more with your Library, virtually. From June 15 to August 15, explore SCLSNJ’s Summer Reading Challenge from home.
“Summer Reading is a mainstay program in library culture for so many valuable, literacy-based reasons,” said Carolann DeMatos, director of marketing and public relations. “However, our Libraries have become even more important over the years as society adapts to changing times, especially now as we collectively navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Our Libraries have historically been the village center in so many of our towns and communities,” continued DeMatos. “Our Libraries offer a safe and convenient place for conversation, exploration, learning, literacy, and real connection. And we have been working tirelessly to assure that the Library is still there for our customers – albeit in a more virtual fashion. Our branches are staffed with intelligent, well-trained professionals who want to assist customers in their information journey – which we have continued to do virtually over the computer and using that age-old and almost forgotten technology, the telephone. Our collections are growing and adapting, consistently responsive to the changing needs of our community members. Over the last few weeks and months our dedicated collections team has been integrating many new e-reads because that is what our customers need now. When that need changes, we will adapt again. So even while you work to #BeSafeAtHome, remember to read more, learn more, connect more, and experience more with us this summer (and always), because the final ingredient in our successful library mixture is you.”
Did you know that reading can help you become more empathetic, reduce stress, and even improve your overall mood and brain function? According to research from Cornerstone University, reading can do all of that and more.
In addition to housing a collection of over 702,000 books, SCLSNJ offers the ability to read with your community in a variety of ways. The Library System offers storytimes for children and families starting right at birth; book discussion groups for all ages that focus on a plethora of topics; and more.
Explore a librarian curated list of books that you can read with your child about community, virtually through SCLSNJ’s e-book resource, Overdrive:
- “The Cool Bean” by Jory John and Pete Oswald
- “Daniel’s Good Day” by Micha Archer
- “The Earth Gives More” by Sue Fliess
- “Get Up, Stand Up” by Bob Marley and Cedella Marley
- “Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids” by Carol McCloud
- “I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness” by Kerascoët
- “Little Libraries, Big Heroes” by Miranda Paul
- “Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood” by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell
- “Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed” by Emily Pearson
- “Stick and Stone” by Beth Ferry
One of the core services at SCLSNJ is to promote and support lifelong learning. This summer, your Library is the perfect place to expand knowledge, not only through the collections and resources, but also through interactions with industry experts. Experienced authors, historians, artists, and others will share their master knowledge in their fields.
The literature lover, the history enthusiast, and the pandemic-news buff can all rejoice through one-on-one interactions with these presenters virtually through online programs.
J.R.R. Tolkien: An Introduction to His Life
- June 12, 2-3 p.m. Presented by Janet Croft, Rutgers University Librarian and renowned Tolkien scholar. Learn more: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4285636.
Public Higher Education and the COVID-19 Crisis
- June 15, 7-8 p.m. Presented by Dr. Connolly of the University of South Florida. Learn more: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4327139.
Looking for book recommendations, information about resources, programs, or other services? Your SCLSNJ staff is here for you virtually through online remote reference via email, online chat, and even text services.
“SCLSNJ staff miss their customers and are thrilled to be able to address their information, technology, reference, and readers’ advisory needs while our Library branches are closed,” said Cathy DeBerry, adult services supervisor. “These virtual offerings are particularly important during these challenging times because it provides us the ability to connect with our customers remotely.”
Virtual services are available:
- Monday- Thursday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Sundays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore these virtual services: sclsnj.org/research-learn/ask-a-librarian.
Take the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge
In 2019, over 4,500 youth patrons participated in the Summer Reading Challenge. As a cornerstone for literacy, SCLSNJ strives to increase the County’s reading proficiency even more in 2020 through the Summer Reading Challenge.
“This summer, SCLSNJ’s Summer Reading Challenge has gone virtual,” said Christine Jansen, manager of youth services programs and collaborations, public services. “Just like in past years, you can still earn rewards for reading whatever you want throughout the summer. Earn virtual drawing tickets for a chance to win real prizes for every 10 days of reading, submitting virtual book reviews, and attending virtual SCLSNJ programs (we have over 200 to choose from).”
Drawing tickets and prizes will be awarded at different reading milestones throughout the summer.
- At 10 days participants will receive a virtual drawing ticket;
- At 20 days participants will receive a virtual drawing ticket;
- At 30 days participants will receive Somerset Patriots prize pack of four tickets* and a virtual drawing ticket;
- At 40 days participants will receive reading recognition reward* and a virtual drawing ticket;
- At 50 days participants will receive a virtual drawing ticket;
- At 60 days participants will receive a free book* and a virtual drawing ticket, plus automatic entry to the Golden Ticket Prize.
*While supplies last.
SCLSNJ’s Summer Reading Challenge isn’t just for children, tweens, and teens. Readers of all ages are able to record their reading minutes. Whether it’s for fun, continuing education, or career oriented, your Library is here to help you achieve your goals.
”SCLSNJ’s virtual branch, Explore From Home, will be bustling with activities to engage our adult reading communities throughout the summer,” said Darryl Voorhees, manager of adult services programs and collaborations, public services. “Two recurring programs highlight this in particular – Selected Readings: SCLSNJ Unites the Community Through Verse, in which library staff read from a chosen tile, and Virtual Readers’ Roundtable: A Moderated Book Talk, during which our virtual branch serves a gathering place to talk about what you have been reading.”
Selected Readings – SCLSNJ Unites the Community Through Verse: 11-11:45 a.m. Learn more:
- June 16: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4329532.
- June 23: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4332023.
- June 30: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4332026.
Virtual Readers’ Roundtable: A Moderated Book Talk
- June 29, 1-2 p.m. For more: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4312971.
SCLSNJ’s Summer Reading Challenge is sponsored in partnership with the Somerset Patriots and the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board. Take the summer reading challenge: SCLSNJ.org/SummerReading.