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Book smart: Community members celebrate end of Adult Summer Reading Program with potluck

By Staff | Aug 9, 2019

Nan Johnson, of Shepherdstown, talks with Suzanne Patrick, of Shepherdstown, during the Summer Reading Program potluck lunch in the War Memorial Building on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — About 100 community members joined the Shepherdstown Public Library’s first Adult Summer Reading Program this summer. On Saturday afternoon, program participants met together in the War Memorial Building to celebrate their completion of the program, with a potluck lunch and raffle.

According to Assistant Librarian Tish Wiggs, the library borrowed its program inspiration from the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library’s adult program.

“I wanted to do an adult program to mimic the one done in the children’s department,” Wiggs said. “Parents would joke when they came in for the kids programs, ‘Where’s the one for me?'”

Wiggs said many of the participants were parents, who wanted their children to see them reading, not just expecting them to read, throughout the summer.

“I liked that Bolivar’s program was pretty low-key. As long as people liked it, we’ll do it again next year!” Wiggs said, mentioning Bolivar’s program also had a potluck meal and was themed “A Universe of Stories,” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Adult Summer Reading Program participants talk in between bites of their potluck lunch, in the War Memorial Building on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

Shepherdstown resident Frances Lynch got book advice from Adult Services Librarian Lance Dom, to pick out books that met the reading program guidelines. In the end, Lynch said the program introduced her to a couple of new favorites.

“This was like an assignment — it took me out of my comfort zone and broadened my horizon,” Lynch said, mentioning she completed her entire bingo card. “I read 21 books and watched one film from the library’s collection. The greatest shock was ‘Fahrenheit 451’–I had never read it before!”

Reading in the program encouraged some participants to change their views of the world.

“I read all the time, so [the librarian] was like, ‘You might as well join it,'” Nan Johnson, of Shepherdstown, said, mentioning the books encouraged her to be philanthropic to underprivileged children. “It made me do a couple things differently. I sponsored a couple more kids to go to summer camps, and sponsored a high school kid to go to leadership camp. If they can’t afford those opportunities, it’ll set them behind in a perpetuating cycle.”

At the end of the potluck lunch, the tickets earned through the program’s bingo card reading system, were collected and drawn at random by Wiggs. Frances Marshall won a gift bag from Four Seasons Books, and Suzanne Patrick won a gift bag from German Street Coffee & Candlery.

“This is Tish’s brain child, and she really pulled this off,” said SPL Director Hali Taylor. “We were pleasantly and delightfully surprised that so many people signed up. One of the best things about it, was that it was no pressure and so much fun.”