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      Ottumwa library hosts summer reading program for kids, teens and adults

      The Ottumwa Public Library is once again hosting its summer reading program, but with a few changes.

      Instead of kids tracking how many pages they read, this year, participants will log how many minutes they spend reading. Library Director Sonja Ferrell said this will hopefully take the competition out of the program and will let kids focus solely on reading. To participate, kids through age 14 can pick up a calendar at the library, track their minutes and turn in the calendar at the end of June and July.

      Another change comes with the prizes being offered. Instead of having several small prizes, the library is investing their limited funding in fewer, big prizes. This also allows the library to hold more programs; 14 this year, as compared to the six held last summer.

      The children's program is the most popular, but the teen program (ages 14-18) is also important.

      "Especially as they're preparing to make the decision of what they're going to do after high school, to just keep their minds going throughout the summer and not shut them off for the couple of months they're not in school," Ferrell said. "So we like to encourage that. It's not as rigid of a program, but it definitely keeps them reading throughout the summer."

      Adults age 18 and older can sign up for the adult reading program at the library front desk as well.

      The summer reading program begins June 2.