By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Metropolitan Library System recently donated over 4,900 new books to local nonprofit organizations following the completion of the library’s annual Summer Reading program in August.

The Metropolitan Library System’s annual Read it Forward program gives Summer Reading participants the opportunity to donate their prize – a free book – to someone else or “Read it Forward” rather than claim it.

The library system also donates a book on behalf of Summer Reading participants who complete 30 hours or more in the program. These books are then distributed to local nonprofits serving families and youth.

The 2019 Summer Reading program produced its highest donation total to date, of over 4,900 books. Local nonprofits benefiting from the 2019 Read it Forward program included Oklahoma City Indian ClinicSanctuary Women’s Development CentersPalomar (Oklahoma City’s Family Justice Center), and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma.

“Giving our young patients books to read can enhance imagination and make reading fun,” said communications and events director for the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, Angie Childers Reeves. “These aren’t just books they get to borrow, but ones they get to bring home, read and share.”

Summer Reading participants earned prizes for each 10 hours read, which is the equivalent of reading 20 minutes per day, up to 30 total hours.

Fifteen percent of participants reached the 30-hour completion, automatically donating a book to the Read It Forward program. Many participants also opted to Read It Forward rather than claim their prize.

Over 30,000 readers participated in the annual Summer Reading program this year, a 7 percent increase over last year’s Summer Reading program. Readers also logged a total of over 25 million minutes, which is a 26 percent increase from 2018.

“This year we broke records yet again with our Read it Forward program, donating almost 5,000 books to organizations in our community serving local families,” said Victoria Stephens, Metro Library Communications Coordinator. “The more our library customers read, the more we give to local non-profits. We look forward to setting our sights even higher in 2020.”

The Metropolitan Library System is the largest library system in Oklahoma with 19 locations across Oklahoma County and an online virtual library accessible 24/7. Users can check out books, download eBooks and magazines, research genealogy and even learn computer skills from almost anywhere.

Library account users have access to subscription online resources including ancestry.com, LinkedIn Learning, Consumer Reports and Morningstar Investment Center and can also stream movies and television shows as well as download eBooks, eAudiobooks and magazines.

In addition to story times and book clubs, Metro Libraries host classes which include art workshops, tech training, robotic coding, escape rooms, Tai Chi and Yoga.

For more information, visit metrolibrary.org.

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