Young readers have a chance to earn money for college just by participating in the teens' reading campaign, "Make Waves at your Library," or young children's "Make a Splash -- Read!" After registering, the child's parent, legal guardian or grandparent can visit path2college529.com to enter the child's name into the "Make a Splash -- Save for College Sweepstakes."
One winner in the statewide contest will be selected in an Aug. 1 random drawing conducted by the Path2College 529 Plan and will receive a grand prize of $5,529. The winner's check will be payable to the winner's parent, legal guardian or grandparent, who will have the option to use all or a portion of the prize to open a Path2College 529 Plan.
But one lucky young reader will not be the only one to benefit from the contest.
"Parents with teenagers, parents or grandparents of younger kids -- they can go online and register for the sweepstakes, and if they win, they get about $5,500 toward a college education, so it's pretty great," said Thomas Shalin, Youth Services coordinator for the library system. "[But] if somebody from our local library wins, we get $1,000 as well. Every little bit counts, especially in this day and age with the economy."
The $1,000 going to the winner's public library will go toward its children's and teens' department. The library with the greatest number of entries and the library system with the greatest percentage of their registered users entered into the sweepstakes will each win $1,529 for their children's and teens' materials and programming.
"Everybody who signs up for summer reading, we're saying, 'Go online and sign up for the 529 sweepstakes,' so that definitely would be an option, and it doesn't take much just to go on and put your name in and help us out," Shalin said.
Official contest rules can be found on the Path2College 529's website. The Path2College 529 Plan, a college savings program offered by the state of Georgia and operated under the Georgia Office of Treasury and Fiscal Services, selected TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing Inc. (TFI) to serve as program manager for Georgia's college savings plan. TFI is a part of TIAA-CREF, a financial services organization with more than 90 years of investment experience.
Though only one reader in the state will win the contest's prize, all participants in the local system's youth reading campaigns will have a chance to reap rewards -- younger patrons can receive stickers, prizes and books for their reading, while teens can be entered into gift card drawings for hitting the books.
Shalin said about 1,300 young children and teens total have signed up for the two campaigns.
"We're actually a little bit under from last year, but at least we're pretty consistent," he said. "People are still coming in to sign up, and there's always more time. There's plenty of time for them to come sign up, and kids can easily complete their reading sheet by the end of July.
"A lot of kids are already done, so if you're definitely inspired to read, they can finish it in no time," he added. "It counts if you're being read to as well, if you're doing story time at home."
Young readers are not the only ones who can earn a prize this summer. "READiscover Your Library" is the theme for the Adult Summer Reading Program, and adults who register for the reading campaign, read three books and attend one library program will earn one entry for the grand prize, an iPod nano. A prize basket filled with books, DVDs and more also will be given away at each of the library branches.
Colleen Knight, Adult Services coordinator for the system, said Monday's enrollment numbers in the adult campaign stood at 225, up from registration totals at this time last year.
"Considering we're only a couple of weeks into it, I think we're doing pretty well," Knight said. "It could be the economy, it could be a lot of things."
Knight said adult patrons this summer have responded well to at least two of the library system's program offerings -- one is "Chi-Fit" on Tuesdays through July 22, from 10 to 10:40, at the Cartersville Public Library. The weekly sessions feature Sue Hopkins from Etowah Valley Yoga leading attendees through gentle motions.
Bingo at the Cartersville Library and the Emmie Nelson Public Library also has been popular, Knight added. The Euharlee branch's next game will be Friday, July 9, while Cartersville's will be Monday, July 12. Both events run from 2 to 3 p.m.
Adult events happening this week include a workshop on navigating the Georgia Download Destination and downloading audiobooks. It will be held at the Cartersville branch Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Those who frequent the Adairsville Public Library may want to visit the branch to discuss with fellow readers their favorite thrillers; like the Cartersville event, this book chat will be held Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., professional astrologer Brooke Moore will offer a short introduction to astrology followed by hands-on learning exercises where those in attendance will create astrology charts and maps. The session will be held at the Cartersville Public Library, and registration before the event is required.
Children this week and next can see and learn about mini horses at one of the three 1 p.m. sessions at the local library branches. The Cartersville branch will host the event Thursday, with the show coming to Adairsville Friday. The Emmie Nelson Public Library in Euharlee will host it Thursday, June 24.
Teens who visit the Euharlee branch this Thursday can drop in and make a craft from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., while those who bring a white T-shirt to the Cartersville library can make their own graffiti designs on them that day from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
A complete list of summer events for children and adults can be found on the library system's website, www.bartowlibraryonline.org. Event listings also will appear in The Daily Tribune News throughout the summer.