Say thanks with a read-a-thon

Whether you’re a bona fide bookworm or only an occasional page-turner, you can’t deny that you’d be lost without a library.
From free Internet access to research materials to the best new releases around, the libs has a lot to offer, and it’s just a (free!) card away.


We’ve got the 411 on how to host a back-to-books benefit for your local library. Say “thanks” with good cheer, a stack of faves and maybe a check to help out with all of those recent funding cuts, too.


Grab Your Buds

Gather your gang and fill ‘em in on your idea. Feel free to take the lead, but divide up the rest of the duties—making posters, creating a sponsorship flyer, putting together a Facebook group, checking in with your principal or librarian—equally.


Make a Plan

You’ll want to sit down and chat with the folks in charge, whether it’s your principal or V.P., if you’re doing your read-a-thon to benefit your school library, or the head branch librarian of your local library. Settle on a date and time. Try beginning on a Monday and having a marathon reading party at your library on the following Friday or Saturday to celebrate your success. Pick a theme if you like (e.g. Holiday books, mystery novels). 


On a more personal level, have each of your friends set a personal reading goal. Is there a book you want to finish? A number of pages you’d like to reach? High or low, it doesn’t matter, as long as it gives everyone a goal to work towards.


Get Grown-Ups Involved

Talk to your parents and see if they’d be interested in participating, too. Reading together—especially for charity—is a great way to build family bonds, spend time together and find common dinner-table discussion topics.


Even better? Get the whole community involved! Put flyers in your neighbor’s mailboxes to let them know about the event and invite them to come along to the end-of-week party.


Ask Around for Sponsors and Participants

While you could just host a read-a-thon for fun, adding in the charitable aspect creates another challenge and an incentive for you to reach your personal reading goals. Parents, neighbors and other relatives will be eager to contribute to the cause. Just remember: If you’re going door-to-door, always bring a parent with you to stay safe.


Don’t forget to talk up your event! Tell your classmates, your babysitting charges, your teammates and fellow band members—everyone. Get ‘em in on the action and have them settle on their own personal goals.


Party Prep

We know, we know—usually librarians go nuts when they so much as hear a wrapper crackle. Ask the ladies and gents in charge if they wouldn’t mind bending the rules for just one day. You will need to compromise, though. Keep the munchies cheese- and chocolate-free. Stick to snacks like popcorn, pretzels, hard candies, and bottled juices or sodas (with lids). This way you don't have to worry about messing up the books, or accidental spills.

Before your fellow readers arrive, jazz up the place with streamers and balloons. Make it look festive, but keep the atmosphere quiet and cozy. If you’ve got young readers participating in your marathon, set up an area where they can read aloud without bothering other guests. 


Start Readin’, Girl

Once your read-a-thon is underway, all that’s left for you to do is, well, read! Snag a favorite old friend, a new find or a classic. Want to find something new? Swap suggestions with your buds, ask your parents what they used to read or hunt down your local librarian for her top picks. She is a fabulous resource, you know, so take advantage...but don’t forget to say “thanks.”  


by Brittany Taylor | 2/1/2016
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