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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Summer Reading Club 2017

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, June 11, 2017

Tomorrow is the start of the Library’s Summer Reading Club, which will run through July 22.


Our Summer Reading Club is free to join and is for children, teens, and adults. 


This year’s theme is “Build a Better World,” demonstrating all the ways that you can help to create and shape the world around you by reading, listening, building, volunteering and working together.


The Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County has a variety of activities and programs for all ages, listed on the library web site at


There are multiple opportunities for participants to win prizes.


A new feature this year is that teens ages 12-18 have the choice to participate online or in person for the Summer Reading Club.


Registration for online participants can be done by visiting the Teen Summer Reading Club at


Our Summer Reading Club is sponsored in part by the support of the Krnich Estate.


Studies have shown that school aged children and teens lose their educational interest during the summer without reading stimulation.


The Library System annually sponsors the Summer Reading Club to encourage activities and reading to cover the gap between when school ends in May and starts again in the fall.


Parents will work with children under the age of 12 with their Summer Reading Club booklet which has activities outlined for each week through July 22.


Each page tells of activities and programs offered at each library location.


Similar booklets are available for teens and adults, which include puzzles and activities for each age group.


Summer Reading Programs have been commonplace in public libraries for many years, but recently the programs have been extended to include all age groups with more activities and increased eResources being used.


We expect more than a thousand participants countywide to take part in “Build a Better World” and enjoy the summer.


Our library has a history of activities for the summer dating back to the first summer in the “new building” in 1902.


Ellen Summers Wilson organized a Boys Club and a Girls Club for the summer when the Carnegie Library opened to keep the children occupied during the summer months when school was out-of-session.


She made a small chart for each child to record the names of the various books read over the summer.


At the end of summer, the charts were displayed at the library, and then sent home with boys and girls so they could show their teachers in the fall.


My favorite story remains the one told to be over 30 years ago by a man recounting his library experience of the early 1930s.


He had borrowed the book “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain, and unfortunately dropped the library book in a mud puddle accidentally.


His mother told him that he had to return it to the library and explain the situation to the librarian; and tell her that they had no money to pay for the book.


He encountered Miss Eleanor Neidengard, the librarian of the era, who lectured him sternly about the proper care of a library book.


Finally, she asked him if he had gotten to read any of the book before it went into the puddle, and he responded, “Yes, and I really like it to that point.”


Miss Neidengard went to the shelves and retrieved another copy of Mark Twain’s work, and told him, “finish the book and tell me about it --- and be more careful this time!”


He also did some errands around the library to compensate for the book.