Every summer, the Sanibel Public Library (SPL) hosts an exciting reading program for families, and 2022 was no exception. During the summers, children read for others, and “earned” books based on the hours they read and from completing challenges. The great thing about the program is that participants earned not only books for their personal collection, but also books for patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

This summer, 280 participants earned books (for activities and reading time) for themselves and 1,000 books for the Hospital. Children (ages baby-to-18) logged 94,389 minutes of reading, or listened to caregivers read to them, for a total of 1,573 hours. Educators at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida use these donated books to supplement lessons for their young patients. Since its inception in 2012, readers have helped to contribute more than 14,000 books to the hospital. New books are needed every year because books are given to patients to take home, and can’t be shared because of the possibility of spreading illness.

“It was great to see everyone in-person again this summer! The 2022 summer reading program welcomed more than 850 attendees to 41 programs, ranging from archeology to alligators,” said Youth Services Librarian Deanna Evans. Summer reading programs help students avoid the ‘Summer Slide,’ the loss of reading proficiency during the break from school.

This summer’s theme, “Oceans of Opportunities,” featured family storytimes with “Miss Deanna,” Friday afternoon family-friendly films, and Thursday evening programs for ’tweens and teens. Teens enjoyed an escape room, cupcake “war,” made jellyfish lanterns, experienced VR and learned about solving crimes during “CSI Sanibel.” Presenters for school-aged children included staff from Sanibel Sea School Mobile Unit, Florida Public Archaeology Network, C.R.O.W. and Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Families “met” reptiles from Adam’s Animal Encounters, and learned from presentations with master storyteller Windell Campell and birdwatching expert Ken Burgener.

In addition to earning books, children in grades kindergarten through sixth earned string backpacks, as well as “brag tags.” Teens earned community service hours for writing books reviews, or participating in programs. Letters for Volunteer Hours Earned are available for pickup.

The Sanibel Public Library Foundation, along with the Joan Hunt Cory Children’s Fund, underwrites the annual summer reading program. The Children’s Fund was established in 2008 to honor longtime library volunteer and supporter Joan Hunt Cory. The SPL Foundation provides, supports, and supplements library services of Sanibel and assists in the promotion of reading and literacy. Since 2006 the Foundation has provided more than $1 million in grant funding to support Library Author Series; the annual Summer Reading Program; a TeenSpace Room; and technology initiatives including cutting-edge computer hardware and software; early literacy computers; eBooks; mobile apps; and more.

From now through September 30, 2022 stop by the Library to see artworks from the Sanibel-Captiva Art League’s exhibit, called “Home Sweet Home.” Beth Jarrell’s collection of vintage Pyrex from 1956 to 1984 is also on display through the end of September. Look for the display case near the glass elevator. If you have a collection to share, please contact the Library. The Library will be closed Monday, September 5, for Labor Day.

Sanibel Public Library is circulating two Real Florida Reader State Park Passes. Patrons can use their Library card to place hold or check out a pass. Each pass is good for one vehicle with up to eight passengers. State Park pass program runs through September 12, 2022. The Library also offers passes to some of the area’s most popular attractions—The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’MON), and C.R.O.W.’s Visitor Education Center. Call the Library for more information or to place a hold for a pass.

Sanibel Public Library cards are available to all residents of Sanibel and Lee County, Florida, at no charge. You must present your valid driver’s license (or similar government ID) to staff, showing your current Lee County address. Visitor cards are available for a $10 fee and are good for one year.




Learning about turtles with C.R.O.W. staff
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