- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Children may enjoy participating in outdoors activities during the summer, but in Williston, they appear to love reading.

Data from the Williston Community Library show more youths are reading over the summer than during the school year, the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/29l1frn ) reported. Children have checked out more than 2,000 picture books and 700 children’s chapter books this summer, far more than the typical 1,500 books that they rent every month during the school year.

As the number of book rentals has increased this summer, so has the number of children participating in the library’s summer reading class. More than 500 children have already signed up.

“We’re over double than last year,” Mitchell said, both taken aback and thrilled. “This is a huge jump. It’s ridiculous, ridiculously good.”

Mitchell has been responsible for the summer reading program for six years. She and other librarians aren’t sure about the reasons for the rising participation, but give credit to the increase of families in the community.

The newspaper reported that the largest demographic of library patrons was once made up of men looking to use the computers to find work or print resumes, but now it has shifted to stay-at-home moms taking advantage of the baby and toddler activities.

“It’s really valuable to have all of these new families in town,” Mitchell said. “It’s definitely shifted to a family dynamic.”

Like other summer reading programs, the one at Williston’s library encourages children to keep track of the minutes they spend reading in exchange for prizes. The top prize is an iPad mini.

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Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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