For many kids, summertime means no school, no homework assignments and no books. But for Hailey Newlun, an 11-year-old from Creston, it means creating a summer reading challenge for both the children and adults in her community.
Hailey Newlun and her mother were scanning Pinterest one day when they saw the idea for a summer reading challenge. Newlun has always enjoyed reading during her free-time and thought this would be a good way to challenge herself to finish a set number of books before the end of summer when school begins again.
“I thought it was a good idea to try and challenge myself to finish 22 books before the summer was over,” said Newlun.
After coming up with the idea for the children’s reading challenge, she thought it would be a great idea to create an adult reading challenge as well. She then brought the idea to the attention of the library director who agreed.
“Her mom had her come in and talk to me direct as an idea and if it would be something I would want to do, and I told her absolutely,” explained Kristi Scherer, library director.
Once the idea was approved, Newlun designed a poster to put near the entrance of the library to get people excited about the program. Anyone is able to participate in either of the summer reading challenges, all individuals need to do is ask for a list from the front desk and check off the books as they go. Once completed they return the list to the library and receive a small prize.
“Both the adults and kids who complete the challenge will receive a small award, along with informing the school superintendent which kids completed the challenge so they can do something too,” said Scherer.
The children’s challenge includes 22 books from different categories such as a book about food, or one with a color in the title, that must all be read in order to complete it. The adult challenge is the same, but includes 12 books from more in-depth categories including a book in translation or one nominated for an award in 2018.
Whether it is an adult or a child participating in one of the reading challenges, seeing someone reading a new book makes Newlun proud.
“It has made me feel like I am making a difference actually trying to get people to read, trying to get them the spirit of enjoying different books that they wouldn’t normally choose,” she added.
Along with starting the summer reading challenge at her library, Newlun has also been doing a program called shelf talkers. For the last three years she has been reading a book and writing a review on it. The library staff then displays that book and the review on top of the shelf in the front so people have some background before checking out the book.
While the Creston-Dement Library staff appreciates everything Newlun does, Scherer is proud of her on a more personal level.
“I am so proud of her, I do not have grandchildren yet, so these kids that come in are like my grandkids and Hailey has been coming in since she was little and her sister since she was born.” explained Scherer “Kids these days have so much pressure on them, so I tell her she is a strong girl and I am so proud of her, she is a real role model for other kids.”