The Hilliard Library's Summer Reading Club was a success, which is typical for the busiest of the Columbus Metropolitan Library branches.

The Hilliard Library's Summer Reading Club was a success, which is typical for the busiest of the Columbus Metropolitan Library branches.

Amy McLanahan, youth services team leader for the Hilliard branch, said 10,642 children and adults participated in the Summer Reading Club June 5 through July 31, the highest participation in the library system, and 61 percent finished the program.

"Summer Reading Club encourages reading every day," McLanahan said. "We want to make reading a habit."

Participants tracked the time that they spend reading or doing other literacy-based activities, and as they complete each milestone, they earn a prize or a raffle entry. For example, two children won bicycles in a raffle, and it was recently announced that Scioto Darby Elementary won a trophy for the highest school participation.

McLanahan said 81 "volunteens" who worked 1,940 hours this summer helped keep track of the club members' progress and assisted during a busy time of the year for the Hilliard branch at 4772 Cemetery Road.

"I think reading is a highly valued activity in the Hilliard community," McLanahan said. "We have a lot of families in our community, and I think they really believe in the importance of sharing books with their children. We see families come in and they just leave with big piles of books, and reading is a real daily activity in their households."

The Hilliard branch offered 200 programs this summer, drawing 12,480 people. Judy Hartzler, assistant branch manager, said over a 10-week span this summer, almost 130,000 people visited the library, checking out almost 400,000 items.

"Hilliard is the busiest branch in the Columbus Metropolitan Library system," Hartzler said. "I can tell you that for last year, we checked out about 1.8-million items out of just the Hilliard branch, and that was the highest of the locations. We consistently check out more each month than any other location. It is a well-used branch."

"Every time I walk into the Hilliard branch, I'm always amazed," said Kim Snell, Columbus Metropolitan Library spokeswoman. "It's constantly very crowded. There are so many people using the facility. Hilliard it's a library, but it's more of a community gathering place."