Reading and sipping in Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — Every June, children who sign up for Port Townsend Library’s summer reading program get to choose a free book for every eight books they complete.

This summer, for the first time, the library will blend adults into its summer reading program, with the help of First Federal.

“When you read three books and write reviews for our Web site’s Page Turner section, you get a coupon for a free latte from The Vault upstairs at Aldrich’s,” said Theresa Percy, library director.

“We’re calling them Literary Lattes.”

The Vault is a coffee bar that First Federal operates in its satellite branch in Aldrich’s Grocery Store uptown.

But the free lattes are just part of the donation the financial institution is making as the program’s new sponsor.

New sponsor

On Thursday, Kelly Liske, manager of First Federal’s Port Townsend branch, presented a check for $3,000 to Geralynn Rackowski, president of the Friends of the Port Townsend Library.

The money will be spent on books, programs and prizes, which in addition to the latte coupons, will be used to encourage people to participate in the summer reading program.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are,” said Jean Tarascio, youth services librarian. “It’s for all ages.”

To generate interest in school-age children each year, the librarians visit Grant Street and Mountain View elementary schools in early June to perform a skit that reflects the program theme.

The theme of this summer’s program: “Discover Planet Earth — Read.”

“We’ll be dressed as aliens coming to Earth,” Tarascio said.

Adult participants will be entered in monthly drawings for gift bags, library director Theresa Percy said.

Teens also have a separate incentive program.

Books incentive enough

For the three generations of readers in Liske’s family, there is no need for prizes.

Daughter Abbie, who turns 3 in March, loves preschool story time, Liske said, which she attends on Tuesdays with her grandfather, Rick Nelson.

“When she checks out books, I have sneak them out of the house to return them to the library on time,” Liske said.

Abbie’s 6-month-old sister, Emily, is also eligible to sign up for the summer reading program, Tarascio said.

Any child can participate by listening to books read to them, she said, and will receive a free book for every eight completed.

“You can encourage children to continue reading through the summer while adding to your home library,” Tarascio said.

The First Federal marketing department will design special Literary Latte coupons, Percy said.

Expanding the summer reading program to include adults is one reason First Federal is excited about becoming a major sponsor, Liske said.

“We like being involved in community projects and supporting community organizations this way,” she said.

“Education is a real bonus. You never can get enough of it.”

First Federal made a donation to the summer reading program last year, Liske said.

With the financial institution stepping up the level of support, funds raised by the Friends of the Port Townsend Library, the former program sponsor, can be used in other ways, Rackowski said.

Details about the summer reading program will be posted on the library’s Web site, www.cityofpt.us/library.

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Port Townsend/Jefferson County reporter/columnist Jennifer Jackson can be reached at jjackson@olypen.com.

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