Washington County Library System’s Summer Reading program a success

CHIPLEY – The Washington County Public Library Chipley Branch recently wrapped up its summer programs, and the statistics were higher than anticipated. 

There were 200 participants in the five-week long Summer Reading program, including  53 participants who utilized the drive-thru window for the recommended books, earning reading badges and buttons after completing their reads.

The largest number of participants came from the Feeding the Gulf Coast initiative that allowed parents and other caregivers to pick up pre-packaged breakfast and lunch for the children in their care. The Chipley library handed out roughly 8,000 meals over the course of the summer. 

With so much upheaval due to being forced out of the library building due to flooding from Hurricane Sally, along with COVID-19 protocols, the library staff has been working through quite a bit of adversity. 

Youth Services Instructor Joy Whittaker says the summer went well, considering. “Although this was not the summer we had planned or even anticipated, we exceeded expectations despite the circumstances,” said Whittaker.

Library Director Renae Rountree says the summer has been very successful.

“With all the challenges we have faced with unpacking, working out of the drive-thru window, dealing with COVID-19, and transitioning back into our building, this summer has been very successful, and I am overjoyed with how well things went,” she said.

There were only two in-person events held over the summer, but library staff say both were successful. A Story Walk placed on the east side of the library provided children a visual walk through a book. The biggest hit, however,  was “Animal Tails and Tales,” a presentation about creepy critters and how they each serve a role in the ecosystem. 

The final piece of the summer programming  is a drawing for a chance to win a Kindle. Entries were made through participants earning tickets through various activities such as crafts, Facebook posts, and finding a secret code. The drawing will be held Tuesday, August 2, with  two people to win a Kindle. The Kindles were donated by KingÂ’s Drugs in Chipley.