WEST PITTSTON — Librarians are looking to cool off with the help of their local patrons.
As part of the library’s summer reading program, Children Youth Services Coordinator Summer Belles and Adult Programming Coordinator Jen Moran have challenged the participating children to read a certain amount of minutes this summer.
If the children can reach a certain amount of minutes when the program concludes in August, they will get a special reward.
“The highest readers all get a chance to dunk their chosen staff members,” said Moran.
The library staff is renting the dunk tank and it will be paid for by the Friends of the West Pittston Library.
Each staff member has a specified amount of minutes that the children must read as a combined unit in order to dunk that specific librarian.
Children must log in 73,000 minutes to dunk Moran; 78,000 to dunk library director Anne Bramblett Barr; 83,000 to dunk librarian Hanna Johnston; 88,000 to dunk librarian Patsy Meehan; 93,000 to dunk circulation coordinator Maria Jiunta-Heck and 98,000 to dunk Belles.
And if the participants can reach the 98,000 minutes, all of the librarians will get dunked.
Registrations for the summer reading program are currently underway and children can start logging their reading hours on Sunday, June 26.
The idea for the dunk tank stems off the success of last year’s summer reading program.
The minutes may sound like a lot, admitted Belles, but she said it is obtainable because the children last year had to read for 96,000 minutes to throw pies at the library staff.
“They totally blew through the challenge last year and that’s why I upped it,” said Belles. “I’m hoping we have more registrants because it’s something you want from year to year. But I think they can do it. In the beginning it’s going to take a while to get to that 73,000, because you have to get to 73,000 minutes before you can even get on the board. After that I think every 8,000 minutes will start racking up quick.”
The highest individual readers at the end of the program will do the dunking and Belles said the top readers at the end of every week will have the choice between either a small prize, or the chance to get dunked.
“I went to Montgomery Avenue and I talked to every single classroom about the program,” said Belles. “Many of the classrooms that I went to the kids were like ‘Can I get dunked?’ So, we decided to make that a prize as well.”
Not only will the children get the chance to dunk the librarians, but adult patrons will also have the opportunity.
“One of us, not mentioning any names — me — had the great idea that since we have the dunk tank, why don’t we try to raise money and give an opportunity for our adult patrons to come in, donate $5 over the summer and they have the opportunity to enter their name and get a chance to dunk us as well,” said Moran.
Adult patrons can pay $5 per ticket and put their name in a basket representing each staff member. The staff will then draw one name out of each basket.
Winners for the raffle tickets and the highest readers will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 11 and the dunking will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12 at the library.
The big difference is adults will have to throw balls at a target to dunk the librarians, but the children will just walk up and press a button.
As far as getting dunked in cold water, Moran said it’s all about having fun.
“We have no problem making fools of ourselves because it’s for something that benefits the kids,” said Moran. “They’re reading, they’re excited about reading and they don’t realize they’re doing something so important for themselves because they get focused on the fun that’s behind it.”