Fort Worth Library promotes life-long learning

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A new program at the Fort Worth library, which has a branch in the 109 at 4001 Library Lane, aims to keep the community turning the pages of books “worth reading.”

Divided into four-month chapters, Worth Reading is a year-round program that completed its first year on April 30. The program consists of a variety of activities designed to pique the educational interests for readers of all ages.

During each chapter, participants receive a card that is stamped whenever an activity is completed. When five different activities are completed, participants collect a prize at any library location, and every completed card will be accepted as an entry in the grand-prize drawing at the end of the chapter. Activity cards can be picked up at any library location or downloaded at http://fortworthtexas.gov/library/worthreading/.

Chris Dennis, communications manager for the library, said Worth Reading updates traditional programs that were effective, but did not reach a wide variety of bookworms.

“For more than 40 years, the library hosted a successful summer reading program,” Dennis said. “Each year, thousands of people attended workshops, programs and special events and completed reading-related activities. Though highly successful, the initiative was limited to three months and marketed mainly to young children.”

In 2012, the library approached the Fort Worth Independent School District and other community organizations to form the Worth Reading committee, Dennis said.

“Low literacy remains a significant obstacle to many throughout North Texas,” he said. “It became clear, the program needed to be extended and expanded.”

Since then, Worth Reading has attempted to establish a culture of reading and self-improvement, positively affect student literacy levels and expand the educational and cultural opportunities for the people of Fort Worth, Dennis said.

“The program has been a tremendous success, and the momentum continues to build,” he said. “Strong readers are essential to the city’s future, and strong readers are created by reading 365 days a year.”

Southwest Regional Branch supervisor Donna Kruse said the program demonstrates that the local library offers something for everyone.

“There is a competition for people’s free time,” she said. “We have to make sure that we are offering something for multiple streams of people at locations all over the city.”

Between January and March, the Southwest branch received approximately 500 completed activity cards. During the upcoming months, Kruse said, the library hopes to acquire more teen and adult interest.

“Adult programming is a tough sell, due to their schedules,” she said. “And the teens still think it isn’t cool to be seen at the library.”

Activities like geocaching, photography and origami were developed to capture the attention of young adults. These programs have an abundance of literature provided to Worth Reading participants, Kruse said.

“We have books on just about everything,” she said. “Our intention is that they leave with a book on the topic they are interested in.”

Kruse said Worth Reading provides local entertainment that is not just educational, but free.

“We hope people will take advantage of what their library brings to their community,” she said. “We still think we are the best bargain in town.”

The program’s summer chapter has already begun and runs until Aug. 31.

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