Worthington Libraries officials are getting creative during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, adding some do-it-yourself activities for the annual Summer Reading Club.

Registration for the "Magic Unbound" reading club, which is for children and adults, is necessary at worthingtonlibraries.org. The club began May 20 and runs through July 20.

Participants are eligible to receive prizes based on the amount of time they spend reading and completing DIY activities, said Lisa Fuller, director of community engagement for Worthington Libraries. They track reading for the required times for their age groups or completing the DIY activities, she said.

Last year, the library system had more than 10,000 participants – a record – in the Summer Reading Club, Fuller said. She said she hopes for another successful summer, although many pandemic restrictions still are in place.

"I think that for a lot of families in our community, it is a tradition, and it's something they all look forward to doing every year," Fuller said. "For people who wonder if we're doing it this year, the answer is yes."

The library system has provided some examples for DIY activities: develop a sidewalk game for one's neighborhood, create a fairy house from items found in nature or make a recipe from an e-cookbook checked out from the library, Fuller said.

Children and adults also may sign up for Magic Mail, through which they can share an email address when they register, and each week they will receive a selection of activities and opportunities to connect with other summer readers, plus e-book and streaming video recommendations, according to the library's website.

Upon completion of "personal quests," prizes will be awarded: Children and teenagers may choose a book to keep, available when the libraries reopen, and adults will receive a reusable Worthington Farmers Market canvas tote or a $10 Worthington Resource Pantry donation in their name, according to the website.

Children and teens also will be entered into grand-prize drawings later this summer.

In other library news, curbside pickup of reserved items has been made available to patrons who have had items waiting since March 13, when the libraries closed because of the pandemic.

Patrons with items held at any of the three branches – Old Worthington Library, Northwest Library and Worthington Park Library – may schedule curbside pickups via email or text message, depending on the notification preferences listed on their accounts.

In addition, Susan Allen, director of public services for the library system, said the branches would begin collecting returns during limited hours Tuesday, June 9. The collection sites will be near the doors, she said.

Staff members also have been stepping up their cleaning efforts in anticipation of the facilities reopening, the date of which is not certain, Allen said May 28.

Allen said staff members and patrons alike are looking forward to the three libraries reopening.

"We just want to make sure we do it in a way that is safe for our public and our staff," she said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary