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Library kicks off virtual summer reading program for youth, adults

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published June 9, 2020


ROCHESTER — The Rochester Hills Public Library is inviting children, teens and adults to spend their summer engaged in books with a new, expanded summer reading program available exclusively online this year.

Although the 2020 summer reading program is a little different due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, library staff said it will be as engaging as ever, bringing the thrill of reading directly to patrons’ homes.

“One of our main priorities for the current season is to build resilience and reflection in our community,” Library Director Juliane Morian said in a statement. “Reading not only builds vocabulary and stretches brain capacity, but, more importantly, it helps readers form new connections and develop empathy.”

The library’s new, 13-week-long summer reading program is part of its virtual public library model, which has been in place since mid-March in response to COVID-19.

Registration for Library@Home: Summer Reading 2020 kicked off June 6, allowing community members of all ages to sign up online and start tracking their reading time through Sept. 9.  

“We’re stretching summer reading into September this year, so it’s really the entire summer,” Youth Services Manager Betsy Raczkowski said.

Many people don’t realize that kids who don’t read over the summer fall behind their peers when school starts up again, which is known to professionals in the education field as “the summer slide.” Besides being fun, Raczkowski said, it’s also important for children to read over the summer to keep their skills sharp so they will be ready for school in the fall.

“We don’t know what the fall is going to look like — unfortunately, nobody knows … so we really want to keep brains sharp for next year, when we hope they will all get to be back together in school again,” Raczkowski said.

Library cardholders of all ages may participate in the program by visiting for a registration code. The code can be used to create an account with the ReaderZone mobile app or online at

Summer readers are encouraged to read every day, including articles, books, e-books, audiobooks and magazines, and record their progress on the ReaderZone app or website. Prizes will be awarded for signing up and for reading through Sept. 9. All participants will receive a free book at the end of the program.

To help bring the Rochester area community together, Raczkowski said the library will track the time spent reading across the community and provide statistics later in the summer.

“We will have a counter on our website that tells how many minutes our entire community has read. I think that it will be really cool to see what we can do by the end of the summer,” she explained.

On June 8, the library resumed its drive-up service, allowing patrons to return items. Patrons can now also pick up held items, after receiving an email from the library that items are available, 1-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.

In the weeks and months ahead, Morian said, the library will reopen “in carefully planned phases” until full library service can be restored.

In the meantime, patrons are encouraged to visit for a list of the library’s online resources, including e-books and audiobooks, to connect with a librarian or to find reading recommendations.

The Rochester Hills Public Library is located at 500 Olde Towne Road in downtown Rochester. For more information, call (248) 656-2900 or visit