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City library’s reading programs had record numbers

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More children and teens than ever were reading in Watertown this summer.

Roswell P. Flower Memorial librarians saw 355 children and 115 teens sign up to “dig into reading” in the past three months, a record for both summer reading programs.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say that the program has not only kept them busy during the summer but also kept them reading,” children’s librarian Ashley J. Pickett said.

The children’s program enrollment, which rose from 224 last year to 355 this year, grew despite the construction to restore the fountains and facade in the front of the building.

“I couldn’t believe it had been that great,” Mrs. Pickett said. “When we first opened registration, we had the inkling we would see some awesome numbers, but it just kept growing.”

Children under 11 read 6,739 books this summer. She said word-of-mouth and trying to keep the library’s name out in the community helped to boost summer reading enrollment.

Teen librarian Amanda G. Tehonica said summer sign-ups rose from 74 teens last year to 115 this year. On Thursday, she predicted more than 50 of them will get to attend the final pizza and zombie tag party this evening, which requires them to read 10 or more hours.

She said boosting the enrollment was hard work. “It’s easy for parents to bring their kids or force them to come,” she said. “It’s much harder to draw teens into the library.” She credits programs about forensic science and zombies for attracting the 12-and-older crowd.

The teens who have tracked their reading racked up more than 3,000 hours by Thursday afternoon, compared with 1,549 hours last year. “I’m already thinking ahead to next summer and how to top this trend,” Ms. Tehonica said.

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