By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo — The Peterson Air Force Base Library is dishing up a big serving of books this summer.
Sign-ups for the second annual summer reading program, “Reading is so Delicious,” started June 4. Last year, 652 participants logged more than 7,000 hours of reading. The library would like to match that this year.
According to Kathy Kucharski, library director, summer reading programs are important to help children maintain their reading skill in between school years. “(Children) read for school, then all of a sudden it’s summer and (they) do other things. When you don’t continue reading, especially at a younger age, you lose some of the skill,” she said.
The summer reading program is a Department of Defense program. “The Secretary of Defense allocated money so all military libraries could have the same program,” Kucharski said.
The program, including the promotional items, prizes, T-shirts and worksheets, is created by the Illinois Library Association for use by all libraries. DOD libraries can use the funds to purchase any of the materials.
Each library runs the program a little differently. The Peterson AFB Library asks participants to keep track of the amount of time they read. “We want to get children into the habit of reading,” Kucharski said. “Even if they only (read) 15 minutes a day before bed, that’s still a habit and it’s still reading.”
Participants receive a different prize each week of the program when they come into the library with their reading log.
The program is geared toward children, but all patrons of the base are encouraged to sign up. “What we say is ‘it’s for babies to seniors,’” Kucharski said. “We have a really good population of readers. We have families who come in every week, regardless of whether or not there’s a prize.”
The program will conclude with a party July 14 from 10 a.m. to noon. Corporate sponsors Ashford University and Colorado State University-Pueblo have provided the funds for a bounce house, popcorn machine, carnival games and prizes at the party.