After a record number of registrants for the third consecutive year in 2011, the Baltimore County Public Library's annual Summer Reading Club welcomes participants young and old on Monday, June 11.
Last year's total of 45,971 participants shattered the previous county record of 35,479 set in 2010.
The Catonsville Library had 1,802 participants last year while the Arbutus Library had 1,946 and the Lansdowne Library had 884.
Both the Arbutus and Lansdowne totals were more than double that of the previous year, while Catonsville's total was 335 than its 2010 total.
The 2009 total of 34,413 also set a record for the number of participants in the county program.
The Summer Reading Club became a coordinated, system-wide effort in the early 1970s, according to an email from library spokesman Bob Hughes.
One of the club's goals is to prevent summer reading loss, which occurs when students fail to read over the summer, according to Youth Services Coordinator Marisa Conner in a release.
Reading just four to five books over the summer months can contribute significantly to the retention of reading abilities necessary to advance in the following academic year, according to the release.
The club will again offer prizes in keeping with its themes of "Dream Big: Read!" for preschool and elementary school-age children and "Own the Night" for middle school-age and older participants.
Participants complete the game board provided upon registration, with younger readers eligible for prizes such as glow-in-the-dark glasses and toys, while older participants can win an iPod touch, iPod shuffle, a Kindle Fire, a Hunger Games book bundle, gift cards and mystery prizes.
Children not yet old enough to read can participate in the Read-to-Me Summer Reading Club for ages up to 5.
Previous themes have included Clue into Reading (2006), Reading Road Trip (2007), Catch the Reading Bug (2008), Mastery of Arts (2009), Make a Splash (2010) and One World, many stories (2011).
To sign up, visit a local Baltimore County Public Library branch or register online at http://www.bcpl.info/summerreading.http://www.bcpl.info/summerreading.
The Arbutus Library (410-887-1451) is located at 855 Sulphur Spring Road.
The Catonsville Library (410-887-0951) is located at 1100 Frederick Road.
The Lansdowne Library (410-887-5602) is located at 500 Third Ave.