The Gahanna branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library has issued a Summer Reading Challenge to people of all ages.

Through Aug. 4, time spent reading can be tracked and taken to the next level at the library.

Angie Sharkey, the branch's youth services manager, said the summer reading program is a lot of fun.

"We make it a fun time," she said. "There are lots of programs to attend. The Ironwood Wolves (an educational facility with ambassador wolves) are coming. We have magicians and puppet shows."

Ben Zenitsky, marketing and communications specialist for the Columbus Metropolitan Library, said the Gahanna branch will be host to a Summer Readathon on June 28 as part of the Summer Reading Challenge.

"The idea is to engage the entire Gahanna community for a daylong Readathon, designed to get everyone reading," he said. "From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the branch will host community leaders and stakeholders, as well as families, to read toward a collective reading goal."

Zenitsky said the event is a great way to engage the community and promote reading during the summer.

"It's also a great way to get Gahanna residents involved in our Summer Reading Challenge, which runs June 2 through Aug. 4," he said.

Sharkey said the goal is to see how many minutes community members can read in one day.

"Our motto for the day will be 'Everybody Reads,' " she said. "We're inviting the mayor, fire chief, high school athletes and teachers and principals.

"We're really trying to punctuate the point of everyone reads and Gahanna values reading," she said.

Anyone who wants to participate only needs to visit the library and say they want to read for the event.

"Let us know when finished, and we'll add the minutes to the tally," Sharkey said.

She said the library staff wants community leaders to participate to show children that important people in the community read.

"You can sign up online and track your minutes as well," Sharkey said. "It's a great way to make a challenge as a family. We want to keep the reading level up and keep the momentum up for the summertime."

She said the nine-week Summer Reading Challenge can be joined at any time.

"And it's free," Sharkey said. "That's the best part. Everything at the library is free. You can check out the best books, interact with great library staff, participate in a fun challenge and it's all free."

The library also offers Storytime for babies and toddlers, and preschool and school-age youngsters.

"We have 80 teens helping this summer and they get a rich experience from volunteering," Sharkey said. "We have extra programs for teens as well."

Participants need a library card to sign up for the overall program and earn points toward prizes, which include various coupons, or log entries for a raffle prize.

For more information, visit columbuslibrary.org/summerreading.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla