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Kids Hitting the Books This Summer At Lincoln Branch Library

The annual bike giveaway at Peoria Public Library’s Lincoln Branch is continuing to encourage kids on the South Side to read throughout the summer. 

Cynthia Smith is the library’s branch manager. 

“We’ve been doing it at Lincoln Branch for 20 years now. We started with one bike and it has grown to 91 bikes. So it’s an awesome thing, and it’s a way of getting kids to commit to reading over the summer," she said.  

More than 500 kids participated in this year’s summer reading program. Smith says reading over the summer helps keep skills from sliding over the summer break. 

“So, in order for kids to not get behind in school like other students that are continuing to read, then we want them to be at that level as well, so when they get back to school this fall, they are right there, and they’re going to keep going.”

Peoria Public Library Executive Director Randall Yelverton said participation in the reading program at the Lincoln Branch jumped 19 percent this year. 

Smith started the program while working as a children's librarian at the Lincoln Branch. Twenty years ago, she could count the number of kids participating in the summer reading program on one hand.