Ozzie the Octopus represents the number of hours River Falls Public Library Summer Reading Program participants completed. His tentacles contain 4,462 chain links. Photo by Sarah Nigbor
RF Public Library Summer Program wraps up

RIVER FALLS – The 2022 Summer Library Program, Oceans of Possibility, at the River Falls Public Library was a huge success!

At the beginning of the summer, an octopus made of craft supplies was hung in a corner of the library. It started with just the body of a smiling octopus, named Ozzie. The plan was to create long tentacles out of paper chain links. Each chain link would represent one hour of reading completed by local youth. Librarian Kathy Larson enthusiastically encouraged youth to read so much that the tentacles draped across the entire length of the library by the end of the summer.

Ozzie took on a life of its own! It grew and grew and grew because local youth read over 4,462 hours this summer! Smiling patrons inquired about it all summer long.

“Ozzie just made people happy,” said Library Director Tanya Misselt. “Stau are now so attached to Ozzie that it was decided not to take him down. In many ways the chains symbolize the return of connectedness in the community since the pandemic first started. We are thrilled that the library is once again full of life.”

Reading Challenges were available for different age groups. There was a Rubber Ducky Club for parents and caregivers to complete with pre-readers in which 125 people worked to complete early literacy activities together to earn prizes and a free book.

The School Age Challenge (388 participants) and the Tween2Teen Challenge (128 participants) encouraged children and teens to read at least one hour per week over the course of the summer.

The Adult BINGO Challenge (311 participates) was played by more adults than ever!

The library added a Park Discovery Program, in which families and individuals were given scavenger hunt forms with activities and things to find at various city parks.

“It was very rewarding when families came in sweaty and excited to talk about a park they had just been to,” Larson said.

Scavenger hunt forms are still available at the library through September.

All prizes and special performances were paid for by generous donations to the River Falls Library Foundation.

Submitted by River Falls Public Library

A child stops to admire Ozzie Octopus in the River Falls Public Library last week. Photo by Sarah Nigbor

September 20, 2022