KAPAA — Orion Ishino was excited to meet the firefighters and tour the fire truck from the Kapaa fire station Wednesday at the Kapaa Public Library.
“He’s been very excited and waiting for today,” said Mary Ke Allard, Orion’s grandmother. “He would ask every day, ‘When are we going to the library?’”
The firefighters were invited to the library where summer reading program participants could “Meet Real Life Superheroes.”
“We told them the firefighters might have to leave because of an emergency response,” said Lani Kawahara, Kapaa Public Library manager. “This is how it is in real life.”
Kawahara said the summer reading program is in its second week. With programs available for toddlers, keiki, teens, and adults, each category has its own goals.
As an example, the younger readers read to fill a bingo card, each square being a task such as “read for 20 minutes,” “read in your pajamas,” “write about a Superpower,” or “help someone in your neighborhood.”
A visit to the library is a free square, and like the bingo game, once a line is completed, the reader earns a prize, a black-out card earning a free book.
“Amalia can’t believe libraries give out books,” said Tina Taniguchi whose children are all enrolled in the summer reading program. “Amalia had a black-out sheet and got to choose her free book.”
Readers also earn tokens which go toward solving a 700-piece puzzle of superheroes for the older readers. Younger readers work toward filling a superhero’s cape, and for the teens and adults, if the readers reach their goal, the Friends of the Kapaa Public Library will be donating to the Kauai Independent Food Bank.
“This pilot program has really taken off,” Kawahara said. “For the adults, they read more than half of the amount they needed to read to reach their goal. They did this just in the first week, and we still have five weeks remaining.”
The summer reading program is available at all public libraries on Kauai, and people are able to participate until July 18.