By Lamar Pinkett, Guest Blogger
The Pratt Library's new initiative to help young readers Read Down Fines is an innovative approach to get our children and teen customers back to reading and checking materials out. Since the start of the program, the Reisterstown Road Branch has been excited to introduce this program and encourage our customers to participate. As the young adult librarian, it has been challenging to get the teens excited about this endeavor but with every step there has been progress.
By promoting the program by word of mouth and with print material, we have been able to engage a few teens in the program. Not only have they begun to ask questions, they’re actively participating. It has been rewarding to see our teens take great pride in assuming responsibility for their library fees and to enjoy the process—reading. While the journey got off to a slow pace, we are now gaining momentum. As we look towards the future of Read Down Fines the bigger picture is clear: more teens will begin to be responsible library customers.
One customer shared this story about her experience with Read Down Fines:
I am loving the Read Down Fines program at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. As a grandmother who frequents the library with my granddaughter, this program has disciplined my granddaughter in caring for her borrowed books. She is reading more, comprehending more, and doing more book reports. She understands more the value of keeping up with the books and appreciating the time spent reading books for the one Pratt buck. She loves getting the bucks. She is always looking forward to coming to the library more. It is an excellent program.
With Summer Reading quickly approaching and the start of summer assignments for school, more teens are going to flock to our branch for assistance. Unfortunately, many of our teens will not be able to leave with the materials needed because of fees and fines on their account—but Read Down Fines provides the redemption that many of our teens need. Read Down Fines is more than just paying off your library fees by reading. It equips our teens with the tools necessary to be independent, responsible, and successful individuals and library customers. Come in, relax, and Read Down Your Fines!