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Guest Column: Beat pandemic blues with reading program

Guest Column by Annice Sevett

For many of us, the pandemic has either forced us to find new activities to enjoy or spend more time participating in the activities we can safely do. In the summer, this meant spending time outdoors. Now that winter is in full swing, many of those activities we relied on may not be feasible. No matter the weather, reading is an activity that can be done safely. What’s better than a good book and a hot cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate on a cold winter day? Not much, the staff at the library would argue.

Annice Sevett

To help beat the winter (and pandemic) blues, this year the Albert Lea Public Library has expanded its winter reading program. Formerly known as “Hot Reads for Cold Nights” and only open to adults, we’re opening up the program to community members of all ages, as we recognize the need for a fun activity that engages the whole family.

The program is a bit different depending on your age, but the basic rules are the same. Adults and teens need to read or listen to five books during the program. For children, our bingo card provides reading-related tasks that can be completed to form a bingo. When you have read five books or completed a bingo, you are eligible for a prize (while supplies last) and an entry into the grand prize drawing. You may continue to read until the program is over for more entries into the final drawing. Final drawings will happen once the program is over, and there are two Kindle Fires for each age group that will be given away.

The winter reading program lasts until Feb. 28. Reading logs and bingo sheets can be picked up with your no-contact pickup order or printed from our website. Once complete, you may call the library, email us a picture, drop your completed sheet in the book drop, or message us on Facebook to record your entry.

Although our doors are still closed to the public, the library is continuing to do our no-contact pickup service to safely get the materials you need into your hands. If you need help finding books that suit your reading interests, our staff is available to help you find what you are looking for. For individuals interested in specific subjects or genres, try our Book Bundle service.

No-contact pickup is available Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.and on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Our staff can be reached by phone at 507-377-5340, by email (alpl.library@gmail.com) or on Facebook.

We at the library hope that our winter reading program provides a fun activity for everyone and is a welcomed distraction during these winter months.

Annice Sevett is assistant director of the Albert Lea Public Library.