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Read this summer and earn these prizes with Hall County Library System
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Zachary, left, and Teagan Simmons, 11 and 9, visit the Hall County Library System's Gainesville branch on Thursday, May 27, 2021, to pick out some books. The system has a summer reading program allowing children and adults to earn prizes for time spent reading. - photo by Scott Rogers

Summer reading this year could earn you tickets to the Atlanta Botanical Garden or gift cards to places like Inked Pig restaurant or the movie theater.

The Hall County Library System’s new incentives are part of the reading program that runs from May 20 through July 31.  

The system is using Beanstack, an app it implemented last year for the same summer reading program. Beanstack allows children and parents to log their books read or minutes read in order to earn points they can redeem for prizes. 

Preschoolers can log how many books they read, which also counts toward the library’s 1,000 Books before Kindergarten program and is similarly logged in the Beanstack app. Elementary students, teenagers and adults log their minutes read to earn points. 

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Teagan Simmons, 9, browses through the book shelves Thursday, May 27, 2021, at the Hall County Library System branch in downtown Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers

Prizes for babies through teenagers are earned at 100 points, 250 points and 500 points. Adults earn prizes after every 120 points earned. Participants can pick up their prizes at their local library branch starting on June 1. 

The library’s previous program relied on paper logs and people didn’t have as much of a choice of their prizes, said Lisa Echols, the Hall County Library director of youth services. 

Prizes this year are divided by age and include emoji stress balls, mini block building kits and QuikTrip soft drinks. With more points, participants are entered into drawings for grand prizes such as six tickets to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, a tabletop puppet stage, four bowling passes or a coding robot.

The full prize list is available at the Hall County Library website.

After just a week since registration opened, participation this summer has nearly surpassed the total from last summer, Echols said. Last summer, 856 people registered, and 818 people have already signed up in the past week, logging more than 61,000 minutes read as of Thursday. Elementary students have the highest participation rate of any of the groups, Echols said. 

The program encourages both parents and children to read, Echols said, because parents can log the time they spend reading to their children, too. 

The program doesn’t only reward studious reading, though, she said, participants can also earn points through volunteer service or participation in other library activities. 

Hall County library workers were not able to visit schools this past year because of COVID-19 policies, Echols said, but they have many summer activities planned that are all free. 

Summer activities include outdoor storytimes, kids comedy shows and puppet shows. For more information visit the library’s calendar.

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Zachary Simmons, 11, holds a stack of books Thursday, May 27, 2021, at the Hall County Library System's branch in downtown Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers
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