The Santa Monica Public Library continued to see improvements in youth participation for its summer reading program this year, as well as in the length of time that participants are reading.

The library’s summer reading program for youths experienced an increase of 34 percent, with 2,917 children and teens participating. The completion rate and number of hours read also jumped by 20 percent and 23 percent respectively, according to statistics.

Library officials say the increase may be attributed in part to the popular “Make a Splash” theme and programming, as well as increased outreach efforts made to local schools and at the Juneteenth Festival in Virginia Avenue Park.

The library was ranked number one in the amount of summer programs for children and teens, as well as the number of attendees for a city of Santa Monica’s size throughout Los Angeles County. Officials predict that based on this summer’s statistics, the library is expected to remain at the top.

The Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library sponsored printed materials, programs and prizes for the 10-week program, which is designed to help children and teens increase literacy skills during the summer months while on their school break. The library offered 331 story times and reading-related programs during the summer, with 12,690 in attendance. As a result of this reading promotion, children and teens read 1.16 million minutes during the summer months, according to the library.

This summer also marked the debut of a “Baby & Me” reading club, with 331 babies registered. The new club engages parents and their babies with early literacy activities and rewards their participation with a new board book for their baby.

Other summer programs included a six-week writers’ workshop with local award-winning authors. In addition, 23 teen volunteers contributed 254 hours of behind-the-scenes support during the summer months.

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