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County library system seeking sponsors for reading program

by Caitlan Butler | January 9, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.
The Barton Library is seen in this News-Times file photo.

The Union County Public Library System's annual summer reading program will begin in June, and system Executive Director Michael O'Connell is hoping to make this year's the biggest yet.

"We are putting together a full calendar of events and are including all the branches," O'Connell said on Friday. "We expect to have 400 (children participate) this summer."

Despite a surge in COVID-19 cases last summer, 236 children participated in the summer reading program. Children received small prizes for every 10 books they read through the program's duration, and the top readers of the summer across four age divisions took home $40 Walmart gift cards when the number of books read was tallied in August.

To ensure the UCPLS is able to meet its participation goals this year, O'Connell is seeking sponsors for the program early.

Five sponsorship levels are available for businesses and individuals who wish to support the summer reading program.

At the top level, the Title Sponsorship is available to one person, group or business for $5,000. They will receive "the most prominent placement on all on-site banners" as well as mentions in all press about the program, including media releases, UCPLS website updates and social media promotion.

There are seven opportunities to be Weekly Sponsors for $1,500; they will also receive "prominent placement on all on-site banners" as well as promotion in all press about the program.

Thirty-five opportunities are available to be Daily Sponsors for $250. They too will receive placement on all on-site banners and mentions in all media about the program.

Six Branch Sponsorships are available for $500; those will allow the sponsors to support a specific branch of the UCPLS. Branch Sponsors will receive "prominent placement on the branch banner" at their chosen library branch and mentions in all press about the program.

In-Kind Sponsors will be asked to provide awards and/or supplies for the reading program. They will receive placement on all on-site banners as well and be mentioned in introductory and final press releases about the program.

"Elementary age kids get prizes for every ten books read. These are often small items: gift cards, small toys and the like. Last year we had t-shirts, notebooks and larger prizes for everyone that hit their targets," O'Connell said. "We are hoping to offer more and better prizes for those who are competing and completing."

The summer reading program will kick off on June 13 and continue through July 29. Reader registration will open at the beginning of June.

The theme for this year's program is "Oceans of Possibility."

"We will feature books with aquatic and nautical themes," O'Connell said.

The Barton Library in El Dorado will host daily events for the program, which will consist of entertainment with a themed learning component, crafts and a snack, according to a press release.

The other UCPLS branches -- Harper Memorial in Junction City and the Huttig, Smackover, Norphlet and Strong libraries -- will also host program events on a more limited schedule.

Readers will also be able to read from home if they like with the Libby by Overdrive app, which library card holders can download on Apple or Android devices. The Libby app offers more than 50,000 titles.

"Summer reading programs are a great way to support kids and help grow communities," O'Connell said.

For more information about sponsorship opportunities for the UCPLS summer reading program, contact O'Connell at 870-863-5447 or [email protected] or visit the Barton Library, 200 E. 5th St.

Print Headline: County library system seeking sponsors for reading program

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