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Teen Volunteers Soak Up Library’s Summer Reading Program

Naperville Public Library's annual Summer Reading Program encourages children and adults of all ages to read with the help of local teen volunteers.

When local teens like Julia Shaver and Saira Zuberi aren’t reading at the , chances are they’re motivating other kids to pick up a good book.  

Shaver and Zuberi are just two of the roughly 85 teen volunteers at the Nichols Library helping out with the annual this year. Volunteers are also on hand at all three Naperville Public Library branches to sign-up kids and adults of all ages for the program, which began June 4 and runs through July 29.

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And with only two weeks into the eight week program, more than 7,600 people have already signed-up, according to the Naperville Public Library. This year readers are also eager to take part in the end of summer raffle when the library will be giving out a total of nine NOOK tablets. Prizes like coupons and deals to local businesses are also given out throughout the course of the program.

But the biggest reward for the library itself is having the volunteers available to interact face-to-face with those taking part in the program.

“They are big readers themselves; they’re involved in the program, they’ve excited about it,” said Summer Reading Program co-chair and Nichols Library Adult Services Librarian Martha Vickery. “And without their help we just couldn’t pull all of this off.”

Both teens said they enjoy the aspect of volunteering, but also the benefits involved with encouraging others to read.

“For me, my parents were always big on the mentality that reading is fun,” said Shaver, a sophomore. “But when you read, it does pay off in your school work because you’re able to read things faster and comprehend them more quickly.”

This summer is Shaver’s third year volunteering with the library and the first for Zuberi, who will be a freshman at Metea High School this fall.

On the first floor of the Nichols Library, the students work at a computer station once a week for two hours. Using the computers, program participants can sign-up, log the books they’ve read and also write book reviews.

“It’s all online which is really, really nice,” Shaver said.

“It makes it easier for them because they can sign-up through home, too,” Zuberi added.

Both students also volunteer once a week for the library’s program, which volunteers ages 6 to 12 read aloud to kids in grades first through fifth. Just like the Summer Reading Program, Read2gether takes place at all three branches and builds on the importance of reading.

“I think it’s good for them to see older kids read,” said Naperville North High School senior and Read2gether volunteer Caroline Power. “So it’s nice for them to have some sort of role model to know that reading is a good thing.”

For more information about the Naperville Public Library's Summer Reading Program and Read2gether, visit www.naperville-lib.org

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