Schools, Nonprofit Reap Rewards of Library’s Reading Program

For immediate release: October 21, 2021

Four Douglas County schools and the Douglas Land Conservancy have extra money in their coffers this fall courtesy of the Douglas County Libraries (DCL) Foundation and DCL Summer Reading. Cherokee Trail Elementary School, Ben Franklin Academy, Rocky Heights Middle School, and Legend High School earned $500 each for securing the most Summer Reading sign-ups per school level in DCL’s Summer Reading school contest. Douglas Land Conservancy was awarded $1,000 as the nonprofit recipient of the program’s community reading goal.

“Students and readers stepped up big this year to earn these prizes for their schools and for a fellow nonprofit,” said Kristen Kallio, Special Events Supervisor at Douglas County Libraries. “Summer reading is its own reward, of course, but it’s always fun to see how motivated the kids are to win something for their school and to also be part of the larger community goal. It’s exciting!”

Summer Reading encourages reading from a young age and helps to keep kids reading during school breaks, so they grow up with a strong foundation in literacy.

According to Ben Franklin Academy Librarian Deb Williams, the prize money will come in handy for purchasing new books for the school’s library. “I start promoting the Summer Reading program every year in May to get the kids geared up. Once they know that the school could win money to bring in new books they get pretty excited,” she said.

At Legend High School, Librarian Ed Watterson said the award has been earmarked to expand the popular graphic novel section in the school library. Karen Nottingham, Librarian at Cherokee Trail Elementary, said her school will use the money for new books that address social and emotional learning, inclusiveness, and diverse communities. A few titles on their wish list include “Can I Sit With You?” By Sarah Jacoby, “Bright Star” by Yuyi Morales, and “Unsettled” by Reem Faruqi.

Rocky Heights Middle School Librarian Amy Tempel said book suggestions are welcome! She is encouraging the students’ suggestions on how to spend the money.

Each year, DCL encourages the broader community’s participation in Summer Reading, as well, through its community reading challenge, which benefits a local nonprofit if the goal is met. This year, the community exceeded the goal of 8 million minutes read.

“All of us at Douglas Land Conservancy were honored and so excited to be named the nonprofit recipient of the 2021 Summer Reading community goal prize,” said Patti Hostetler, Executive Director of the organization.

The Douglas Land Conservancy (DLC) works to protect and conserve the natural character, habitats, ecosystems, and open space of Douglas County and other areas along the Front Range. Hostetler said the $1,000 gift will help fund the group’s outdoor outreach programs, which help get people outside to learn about their natural surroundings and the importance of land conservation in our community.

“With the help of over 125 volunteers, we are able to offer over 35 guided hikes and educational outdoor opportunities to the community each year,” said Hostetler.

DCL’s Summer Reading will return in June 2022, along with the school contest and community reading challenge.

Douglas County Libraries elevates our community by inspiring a love of reading, discovery and connection.