by Stephen Dafoe

A short time ago in a library not far, far away, a summer reading program wrapped up six weeks of learning and fun with a familiar space opera theme. After departing from the TD Summer Reading Program last summer to take on their Harry Potter-themed program, the Morinville Community Library was looking to recreate the magic with a Star Wars theme this summer.

Summer Reading Program Coordinator Kaitlin Erdmann said with the recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there is renewed general interest in the brand.

“Back when the original three [movies] came out, it was huge with the parents nowadays. The newest movie just came out last December. So I think there is a huge hype about Star Wars right now, and we just hopped on that train,” Erdmann explained.

This year’s program ran from July 5 to Aug. 18, and organizers were hoping this year’s theme would be a hit with participants.

Those expectations were met and surpassed. Actual numbers for this year’s program were even higher than 2015’s with more than 150 signed up, 20 more than the previous year and nearly quadruple the number who took part in the program in 2014.

“We had a pretty big response to the theme itself,” Erdmann said. “We had quite a few people sign up again this year for the program. Everybody loved the theme and had that wow factor when they walked in and saw our mural that we did. Everyone has been enjoying the theme and crafts.”
This summer’s program included opportunities to watch the original trilogy of movies from the 1970s and 1980s. Those movies: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi launched an entire universe of movies, cartoons, comics, and books. Erdmann said the library checked out a lot of additional Star Wars materials.

But there was more to the library’s summer reading program than reading. This year’s event provided opportunities to take part in two Star Wars scavenger hunts, the final one taking place the day prior to the end of the program, as well as Star Wars-themed crafts, martial arts demonstrations, and a popular t-shirt making exercise.

Erdmann was thankful for Morinville’s business community who once again stepped up to support the program with sponsorships and offering their business as a scavenger hunt destination.
With continued local support, Erdmann is confident the library will be back with its own version of the Summer Reading Program rather than the TD sponsored program the library was part of for several years.

“I find it is easier to mold [the program] and get the sponsors,” she said. “With TD we were not allowed to get other bank sponsors. Here we have RBC and Servus sponsoring us, and other local businesses. I find this way we can incorporate the community more.”

Additionally, Erdmann said it is easier to pick fun themes as opposed to themes that were bland under the old program.

“I had EUREKA [as a theme]. What do you do with that?”

Although she as an idea for the 2017 program, the library employee is keeping it tight lipped until the next launch.

For more information on library programs, visit the Morinville Community Library.

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Oliver and Xavier Proulx popped by Morinville News’ office to work on a couple of Star Wars puzzles during the library’s Scavenger Hunt Thursday. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

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