CASA GRANDE

Every year, as the Casa Grande Library’s Summer Reading Program winds down, children who participated are rewarded with a chance to browse through the shelves of the Scholastic Book Fair and pick out a free book.

As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to impact community activities and events, there will be some changes to the event this year.

While children and teens will still receive a free book, they’ll browse the shelves virtually this year.

“This year, due to COVID, we are unable to open the fair in the traditional way,” said Youth Librarian Julie Andersen.

To receive a free book, participants will select from a list prepared by library staffers.

“We have taken pictures of the books that are available in the fair and the pictures were made into posters that are displayed on our Facebook page and outside the library,” Andersen said.

Kids may also pick up a list of available books at the library’s Main Branch.

“Kids and teens can pick what book they want based off the poster, tell library staff and it will be pulled for them,” Andersen said.

The annual book fair runs July 20 through July 24.

It is the conclusion to the reading program, in which students are encouraged to idle away the summertime hours with a book in their hands.

It began June 1 and reading logs were distributed throughout the summer. Participants kept a daily tally of the number of books they read and each week, turned the log in for a small prize.

To receive a free book and a reusable book bag, kids turn in their completed reading logs to the Main Branch, 449 N. Drylake St.

“They can walk up to the lobby or have their free book brought to them curbside,” Andersen said.

Patrons will not be able to purchase books at the book fair this year.

Last year, about 1,500 readers took part in the summer reading program and the library distributed about 800 free books.

The end-of-season book giveaway is funded by the Friends of the Library organization.

“They pick up the bill for all the free books given away during the fair for kids and teens who turn in a reading log for reading over the summer,” Andersen said.

To learn more, visit the city of Casa Grande Facebook page or call 421-5710. A video on the city’s Facebook page also explains how the program works.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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