AUSTIN EDITION -- Austin summer reading activities see success

By Roxana Orellana

Austin Library's summer reading activities have been successful so far, children's librarian Maureen Steenblock said. "We have had a very good, successful turnout," she told the Library Board on Monday.

"Explore bright ideas at your library," which began in early June, runs through Aug. 15. The program, which started in 1997, helps students maintain their reading skills through the summer and promotes the library as a source of enjoyment and entertainment.

One of the activities is a "20 minutes a day for 20 days" reading challenge. Instead of reading a certain number of books, students spend 20 minutes reading for 20 days. Once completed, students in first through eight grade can receive prizes.


"It's another incentive to keep the students reading," Steenblock said. All students who participate receive a bag with coupons, books and other small treats.

Students can enter a drawing to win a pool party for two hours with treats, movie tickets, a $25 gift certificate for the Little Professor shop and canoeing at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center.

In other business

The 2004 budget is being developed by director Ann Hokanson. The library must come up with a draft of expenses by July 25. Hokanson said she will be working with library staff and Tom Dankert, the city finance director, and Jim Hurm, city administrator, to prioritize expenses.

The Austin Library receives its Internet access through the Southeastern Libraries Cooperating, which is in charge of handling all Internet Protection Act compliance matters. The act says libraries must filter Internet access or lose state funding.

Although libraries are not required to use SELCO's filtering, it would be costly for Austin to find another Internet service provider or buy its own filtering system, Hokanson said.

The board welcomed a new board member. The Rev. Pat Toschak who replaces the Rev. Paul Nelson.

The next board meeting will be Aug. 11.

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