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Here's how Loudoun County Public Library is keeping students engaged in learning during the coronavirus pandemic

Free learning tools keep students engaged in reading this summer at Loudoun County Public Library.

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — While schools closed early amid the pandemic, summer reading is going on as planned at the Loudoun County Public Library. This year, for the first time, their summer reading program will be done entirely online.

Programming coordinator Samuel Mull said it was important for them to provide new tools to keep students engaged in learning this summer.

"This is the first year we've done an entirely online summer reading program," Mull said.

"We jumped in headfirst. We have an entirely online registration system now. You can sign up online. You can complete the challenges online. You submit the challenges online, and then you'll get an email with a voucher for your free prize book once you finish the program," Mull said.

Mull said the virtual summer reading program is more important than ever this year.

"This is a great way to stay connected with the community, keep them interacting with the community because a lot of these kids go to the library all the time. They know the librarians on a first name basis. We were watching these kids grow up and they miss our librarians and our librarians miss the kids," Mull said.

Mull said they worked closely with school librarians in the local school districts to help create this summer reading program.

"It has always been a great partnership because we are all pushing the same message. We are all just trying to educate our community and help provide resources for everybody," Mull said.

Readers are split into four age grounds, starting under five years old and extending through adult readers. Each reader gets points for logging online and attending the various reading programs.

"It is just a really great way, especially in these times, to stay connected with the community," Mull said.

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Mull said one silver lining has been seeing more kids get involved in the library.

"One of the limiting factors we dealt with before this was just getting to the library. Not every child had the opportunity to go into to a physical branch. Now, because of the current situation and summer reading program, I hope it is exposing them to the possibility. I hope they will continue to use these resources as time goes on," Mull said.

"We are all lifting the tides of everybody around us to help spread the message of the joy of reading and keeping education going throughout the summer," Mull said.

There is a reward when you finish the summer reading program. This year, the library is partnering with the Washington Nationals so you can win a voucher for a future Nationals game.

Credit: Nicole DiAntonio

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