Making a Difference: 2022 Summer Reading Challenge! at Montgomery County Public Libraries, MD

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Montgomery County, Md., MD

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About the Program

Category: Children and Youth

Year: 2023

In 2022, Montgomery County Public Libraries’ (MCPL) Summer Reading Challenge! went green. In alignment with Montgomery County’s Climate Action Plan, which emphasizes reducing our footprint through the reduction of waste, and with the support of the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, MCPL staff accomplished something special by completely reimagining the program. The Summer Reading Challenge! is MCPL's annual signature systemwide event for children, teens, and families. Staff successfully implemented numerous changes, most notably the distribution of books to all participants at registration, the elimination of plastic prizes, and a partnership with a local nonprofit in support of the theme, Oceans of Possibilities. Children and teens worked towards a communal goal to make a tangible difference in local conservation efforts by reading books, doing activities, and attending library programs. As readers completed missions, the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, made contributions to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. In turn, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation planted 500 trees along the watershed, planted 250,000 oysters in the Bay, and restored healthy wildlife habitats throughout the Watershed. These program changes resonated with the community, as evidenced by the nearly 13,000 children and teens who registered for the program, marking an 8 year high.

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