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 The Shelby library offers curbside service to provide materials with contactless checkout and pickup.

The Shelby library offers curbside service to provide materials with contactless checkout and pickup.

Photo provided by Shelby Township Library

Shelby Township Library’s summer reading program goes digital

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 7, 2020


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Township Library has decided to go digital with its summer reading program this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Normally, residents come to the library to sign up and complete some activities, but due to the virus, the library has been closed. So this summer, the summer reading program will feature activities for the whole family to enjoy digitally.

Activities will include digital escape rooms, family scavenger hunts and more.

“Summer reading season is our favorite time of year here at Shelby Township Library,” said Katie Ester, the library director. “Every summer, we see thousands of children, teens and adults come to the library to sign up for the annual summer reading program, as well as attend the events and programs that we feature during this time.

“It’s a time of year that the staff looks forward to, as the library fills up with kids toting towers of books to our checkout desk, families attending our outstanding events and residents (get) excited about finishing our reading challenges every summer. This year, admittedly, will be a bit different.”

This year, the entire program will be online, including the sign-up and tracking of reading challenges. There are also virtual library programs to engage the community.

All summer reading programs will appear on the calendar, and patrons should follow the library at to do the virtual programs.

The 2020 children and teens reading challenge will involve tracking reading time with chances to win prizes, as well as activities and experiences designed to engage readers of all ages throughout the summer.

Jennifer Sunderhaus, children’s librarian, said parents can also be a part of the program. Parents can help children complete their challenges and also participate in the bingo activity for a chance to win prizes, as the program is for all ages.

“Parents and caregivers with babies and toddlers can read, sing, play and build early literacy skills together. Adults can participate in a bingo-style library activity challenge with the chance to win prizes such as gift cards to local businesses. Readers of all ages have a chance to win excellent prizes just like in years past, which have been generously funded by the Friends of the Library,” said Sunderhaus.

For all summer programs, including the summer reading program, Shelby Township residents can sign up at, or through the Beanstack app after making an account with their Shelby Township Library card number.

The library also offers curbside service to provide materials with contactless checkout and pickup. Patrons can call the library at (586) 739-7414 to check out materials and pick up books and other items at the green tent in the library parking lot.

In addition to curbside pickup, the tent also offers access to tax forms, a used book sale from the Friends of the Library and library staff available to answer any questions. The library’s return drop box is open, as well. As a precaution, all materials returned to the library are quarantined for 72 hours before being available for checkout. Library staff is also wearing masks, face shields and gloves while handling materials.

While there is not a date set for reopening the library building, when the building does reopen, according to Shelby Township, safeguards will be in place such as plastic barriers at all service desks, floor decals to indicate sufficient social distance, a reduced number of patrons allowed in the building, disposable keyboard and mouse covers on all computers, and spaced seating. High-touch areas like door handles, bathrooms and public service desks will be cleaned multiple times a day.

While the library building remains closed, township staff in the library and the Community Relations Department are providing virtual programming and events. Story times with youth librarians are happening weekly at, as well as weekly craft segments every Wednesday and virtual programming for adults. Crafts kits are available for curbside pickup every Monday, and book clubs have been moved online. All book clubs are free to join and open to all. To join a book club, email

For more information on the summer reading program or other programs, call (586) 739-7414.