Summer Reading Program raises $19,955 for library

Tuesday, October 5, 2021
The Squires and Allen family presents a check to the Friends of the Berryville Library for $19,955 — $1 for every hour read during the library’s 2021 summer reading program. Pictured from left to right are Betty Squires, Dr. Beth Squires, Berryville Library Advisory Board president Joe Scott, Dr. Lyman Squires, Berryville Library director Julie Hall, Tyler Squires, Gray Squires, Emily Squires, R. Dawn Allen and Friends of the Berryville Library president Mary Knight.
Submitted photo

The 2021 Berryville Library Summer Reading Program goes into the books as the most successful summer reading program yet, breaking last year’s record of number of hours read. Thanks to the generous challenge made by Dr. Lyman and Betty Squires, Dr. Beth Squires, Gray Squires and R. Dawn Allen, and Tyler and Emily Squires, nearly 600 people read this summer. The Squires family issued a challenge that they would donate $1 for every hour read up to 15,000 hours.

According to Squires family representative Tyler Squires, “When we realized that this year’s summer reading program was on target to exceed the 15,000-hour goal, my mother, R. Dawn Allen, wanted to continue matching hours in memory of her parents Earl Dean and Delma Allen.

“Our family is pleased to support the importance of reading and assisting in raising funds to build a new library.”

The Squires and Allen families are all natives of Berryville and have served the community in the medical, financial, legal and education sectors.

The Summer Reading Program finished 30 percent above last year with 19,955 hours read, making this the most successful year in the history of the program. Children, teens and adults were able to participate and were eligible for prizes donated by the Friends of the Berryville Library and area businesses. More than 400 youths under 18 years of age and 174 adults registered to participate.

Through an online app called Beanstack, readers from far and near were able to log in their hours read using the internet from their computer or smart phone. Paper log sheets were also available to those without internet access. The reading challenge and special programs at the library ran from June 7 through July 31. Children who completed the reading challenge goals earned a free pass to the Kiddie Korral section of the Ice Cream Social event that took place July 30-31.

“Last year, our goal was 10,000 hours and we read over 15,000,” said Berryville Library director Julie Hall. “This year, our goal was 15,000 hours and we read 19,955. That represents over a million minutes read — 1,197,300 minutes to be exact! This amount shows just how much our community supports our library and its need to expand. I’m wondering if next year, we could reach 1.5 million minutes read!”

The challenge was divided into categories by age: 402 participants under 18 years old logged 7,642 hours of reading. 174 adult participants logged in 12,313 hours of reading. Ellie Mae Asbury was this year’s top youth reader, logging 243 hours. The top three adult readers were Gayle Pace, Briana Hernandez and Mike Tharp. Collectively they read more than 2,000 hours over the eight-week challenge.

In addition to the prizes for meeting reading challenge goals, participants were eligible for drawings. Children earned Explorer Badges, chances to win monthly prizes, by participating in programs throughout the summer. A variety of prizes were awarded throughout the summer, but the most popular prizes were gift certificates donated by local businesses in support of the reading program.

The library is open seven days a week and offers a full schedule of events each week. Curbside service is also available for those unable to come into the building for any reason. For more information on library hours, services, and programs, visit or call 870-423-2323. The Berryville Library also offers active Facebook and Instagram pages.

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