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The Seward Community Library has announced its 2021 Summer Reading Challenge, for which this year’s theme is Reading Colors Your World. Participants are invited to read a total of 24 hours from June 1 - Aug. 7, with registration divided into three age groups: Tots, Youth and Adults. All entrants will record their reading time across six reading logs, each of them tracking four hours in 20-minute blocks. Finisher prizes will be awarded to participants who submit all six reading logs by Aug. 7.

Though the Challenge has been ongoing for a number of years, the increase in signup flexibility precipitated by COVID led to record participation in 2020. Library Director Valarie Kingsland expressed hope that the program would see similar numbers this year.

“The big notable change that we did last year because of COVID was we made it kind of virtual, with takeaway components which turned out to be extremely successful,” she said. “We had more people sign up and more people finish than we’ve had in years. Part of the shift was to make it easier to register, to get people more options. They can come in person, they can do it by phone, and they can do it online.”

Another COVID-related change returning this year is the move from set activity programs with fixed times to weekly take-home craft kits, available each Tuesday through Aug. 3. The first week’s kits will also include starter craft supplies.

“In spite of the pandemic, I think it just fits people’s busier lifestyles better,” Kingsland said. “They’re flexible. They can take them home, do them on their own time, within their own schedule, and still get a lot of the benefits of participating in a summer reading program and doing things together, being creative and doing things with other family members.”

Registration is open to all ages, and only one form is required per participating family. To register, visit the Seward Community Library, call 907-224-4082, or visit bit.ly/ssrcreg.