ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. – On Saturday, June 8, 2024, Orion Township Public Library hosted their annual Summer Reading Kickoff. The event featured several different activities, community partnerships, and fun performers.

ONTV’s Joe Johnson spoke to Ashley Lehman, Head of Youth Services at OTPL about the event on Saturday and what the summer reading program entails this year.

Photo by Joe Johnson

“We turn the backyard of the library into a big huge party, we have circus performers, we have food trucks, we have bounce houses and a bunch of other community organizations hosting activities,” Lehman said. “Our summer reading program is online and we also have a bingo sheet for kids – it kicks off today and runs through August third – so kids can do reading challenges and library related activities to earn bingo squares and adults can do library challenges weekly to earn prizes and free books.”

The event, which ran from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. filled the parking lot with families of eager kids wanting to have fun on a gorgeous Saturday outside the library. The Summer Reading Kickoff was funded by several different means, Lehman expanded on this speaking to ONTV.

“This is possible mostly through our Friends of the Orion Library organization we also have a couple sponsorships from community organizations like Kids Tooth Team and Flip Spot and then we also got a grant through Michigan Humanities Council to fund this,” Lehman said.

Photo by Joe Johnson

The event fortunately coincided with the library’s reopening after a small electrical fire that occurred last month. The library started and stopped pickup services in-between the library’s reopening in order to fully dedicate time to clean out the smoke and to keep the staff inside safe.

“We were almost down to the wire but we opened back up on Thursday fully… everything got cleaned up after the fire, there was no damage so we are ready to go for the summer,” Lehman said.

According to the Lake Orion Review, around 500 kids participated in OTPL’s Summer Reading Challenge. But how much time do adults and kids have to dedicate towards reading new books in order to get in on some prizes? Lehman also answered that question to ONTV.

“So, they have to read 600 minutes or 1000 minutes, or read 50 books if you are a little kid and then adults have various library related challenges throughout the summer and then we end with a fun finale party where we raffle off prizes for kids and adults as well,” Lehman said.

Overall, the myriad of different fun activities and community partnership helped encourage kids and adults to participate in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Lehman summed up why these events are important for the library to host.

Photo by Joe Johnson

“You learn best by reading and the library is a great place to just… expand your knowledge and suck in that information and having these parties just entices people to come to the library and see what we are all about,” Lehman said.

The finale for the Summer Reading Challenge will be a Meet and Greet with Reptarium, an interactive reptile zoo. That event happens Saturday, August 3.

For more information on events like these visit oriontownship.librarycalendar.com.