Sixth graders at Dempsey Middle School participated in the Buckeye Book Awards Monday after the library was selected for a grant from the organization.
Dempsey Library Media Center Director Kate Loker said she applied for the grant to have the school take part in the Buckeye Children’s and Teen Book Award program, wherein students from across the state cast ballots to select their favorite books.
Loker said she was awarded the grant and copies of all the books in the competition. On Monday, Loker held an event for students, which was complete with a photo shoot and a snack. Loker also provided students information about all of the books in the competition before asking them to cast their ballots.
“I want to get kids excited about reading, so I decided to put on a red carpet event,” Loker said. “It’s all about getting kids excited about reading. Reading provides them an outlet. It opens doors and opportunities for students. It allows them to see themselves in literature. Hopefully, they become passionate and lifelong readers.”
Loker said she hopes the event made the library a desirable place at the school.
“I want them to want to come to the library,” she said. “There’s a lot of different opportunities that they can gain from being here. I’m just really excited to receive the grant and more books to get in kids’ hands.”
Sixth grader Emily Burge said the event was fun, and she enjoys coming to the library about once a week for new books.
Fellow sixth grader, Bailey Schertzer, said the library at Dempsey is “a really great place.”
“I love to read,” Schertzer said. “The books are awesome. (I come here every) two weeks.”
Schertzer said she reads between 25-30 books from the library every school year, and she likes the “people and the books” at the Dempsey library.
“(Loker) is a really awesome person,” Schertzer said. “You can’t have a great library without a great librarian.”
Sixth grader Kolton Eggerding said he loves the library at Dempsey.
“It’s my favorite part of the day, coming down here and relaxing,” Eggerding said. “I love to read. It’s my favorite hobby. I think (the library staff is) really nice and good at their jobs. It’s a good place to wind down.”
This year’s book award nominees in the sixth through eighth grade category are “Daughter of the Deep” by Rick Riordan; “Ground Zero” by Alan Gratz; “Kaleidoscope” by Brian Selznick; “Prairie Lotus” by Linda Sue Park; and “Taking Up Space” by Alyson Gerber. Ballots will be collected in the competition now through Nov. 10, and a winner will be announced on Dec. 1.