Beacon Bees Unite and Call for New Bees for Battle of the Books with the Howland Public Library

The kids might be signed up for a week of camp or four, but maybe you can help them squeeze in one more summer enrichment activity. Starting next Thursday, June 30th, those entering grades 6 through 9 can join other kids from around our city as the Beacon Bees prepare to defend their 2015 Battle of the Books title! Battle of the Books is a nationally recognized literature contest in which young people answer trivia questions based on specific books that they have read during the summer.  The goal of the program is to promote a love of reading in students by exposing them to titles and authors that they might not encounter in school, and to inspire teamwork and good sportsmanship while engaging in friendly competition. The middle school program is entering its 12th year of participation in 2016, and Beacon's high school division is set to join in next year. (Ten regional libraries started a high school division this year, but it will take some time for Beacon's to get up and running.)

“It has always been a challenge to libraries to get middle- and high
school-age students to read for pleasure and enjoyment. Yet it's so
important to keep up with reading skills during the summer,” says Ginny Figlia, head of youth services for the Howland Public Library. “This is a great way to introduce them to great books and give them a feeling of teamwork and accomplishment.”

Reading is so hot right now.

For the past eleven years, Beacon's Howland Public Library has sponsored a team that competes with two dozen other library teams in the Mid-Hudson Valley for summer-reading supremacy. The Beacon Bees took summer reading first-place honors in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Beacon students in the middle-school grades gather Thursday evenings from 5 to 7 pm at the library to read and discuss eight books on a reading list. Head coaches Kristen and Tom Rigney put students through their paces as they prepare for game-show-style trivia quizzes about the assigned books.

Support for this article comes from our sponsor Savage Health.

Kids can represent Beacon proudly all summer in mini-battles against teams from Poughkeepsie, Fishkill and Cold Spring. According to Ginny, “By making it a friendly competition where good sportsmanship is encouraged, it enables kids who might not otherwise be part of a team, experience the camaraderie it induces.” The Battle is not just for born bookworms, either: The selected books span a variety of genres such as mystery, fantasy, classics, historical fiction, adventure, sports, and contemporary fiction, and this year even includes a graphic novel.
There really is something for everyone.

The program culminates with each library team’s all-stars battling in a regional competition, to be held September 17 at Columbia Greene Community College in Hudson. “It's a huge, all-day event consisting of almost 300 players, coaches, and a huge audience supporting the kids,” Ginny says.

To get involved, talk to Ginny and get your Beacon readers signed up. (Did we mention there will be pizza?) Give her a call at 845-831-1134, extension 103, or e-mail her at  

If the Battle of the Books doesn't fit your needs, the Howland Public Library does offer the Summer Reading Program through Wandoo Reader that is worth looking into.

Arm yourself for battle - with bookworm knowledge!

PS: We are using this moment to highlight another program at the library that parents will recognize:  the Box Tops program, where you can clip the little pink Box Top image from some of your favorite brands, like Land O'Lakes Butter, Cheerios, and more, and drop that box top in this collection box at the library. General Mills will donate funds to our local schools from the box tops collected! Usually kids do this in their school, but with school being out, a box will be available at the library. You don't have to be a kid to donate. Anyone who buys groceries and clips the box tops can participate in this donation program.