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Library gets creative to prove reading is fun

Satjot Sahai, 9, gets ready to watch a movie rendition of Lemony Snicket's novel A Series of Unfortunate Events.

VERNON - If reading isn't fun, you might be holding the wrong book. The Vernon library is working hard to come up with events and activities that will keep books in the running against video games and television shows as kids look for ways to fill their time this summer.

"It's about reading what the kids want to read, not forcing them to read classics," Stephanie Vollick, youth services librarian and former summer reading club member, says. "We want them to think of the library as a fun space where reading is something to enjoy, not just something you do in school."

That means keeping with the times with books like Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events, and supporting comic books as a legitimate reading material. Vollick, who says she has just as much fun as the kids, even dyed her hair blue to get in character as someone from The Hunger Games.

"I've been trying to erase the stigma that summer reading club is hard. It's fun, relaxing and social," Vollick says.

Black light puppet shows, make your own book trailer, and zombify your barbie are just some of the activities the library is offering this summer.

"They get to do something fun and hands on that connects them to the story," Vollick says. "I think it definitely stays with them. They do better in school, they don't have that lag of not reading all summer."

While the library has been running a popular summer reading program for younger children for years, this is the first time they've offered something for teens.

"It's been really successful for a pilot project," Vollick says. "We've had to be flexible in how we approach it."

Engaging teens between 13-18 has involved pairing books with more familiar mediums, like video. With the book trailer contest, participants film a short video—like a movie trailer—about a book of their choosing. Despite the fresh angle, it's still a challenge to convince some kids to read a book.

"For the most part, kids who join the program are already enthusiastic about it," Vollick says. "I think the program could change other kids' attitudes about reading, and show them it can be fun."

The library's summer reading events are all free, but fill up fast. Contact Stephanie Vollick at the Vernon branch at (250)542-7610 ext. 1309 or email

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

Stephanie Vollick holds a zombified Barbie, inspired by the hit T.V. show The Walking Dead and science fiction novels.
Stephanie Vollick holds a zombified Barbie, inspired by the hit T.V. show The Walking Dead and science fiction novels.
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