Let’s hit the books at the library


The Paris Carnegie Public Library is one of the most important buildings and organizations in the Paris Community. The Library was a donation from Andrew Carnegie, hence “Carnegie” in the name.

The library opened June 24, 1904, with more than 3,000 volumes available to the public, in an ideal location, next to the old Paris High School where it became a learning center for children.

Every summer, the library puts on a children’s reading program. The program is to keep kids learning and advancing their academic skills, even when they are out of school.

The program also gives students an advantage to their growing minds, encouraging children to make friends with one another, helping each other grow and helping their social skills through the power of learning.

Ceili Boylan, the director of the library and the leader of the summer reading program, wants to encourage the children of Paris to join this fun program.

This year the program is encouraging children to read 1,000 minutes this summer and to keep track of how many books they read by the end of the summer. To keep track of how many books are read, there will be a color-by-sticker collage, every time a book is finished children put a sticker color of their choice creating an entertaining and exciting way for kids to recognize their progress. By the end of the summer, the readers will all find out together what picture the stickers create with their hard work.

Once completed, everyone will see what the collage shows.

Boylan brought up the subject of the program change, where they used to count the number of books a child has read, now they are counting minutes for the summer.

She hopes the change will “help with children not feel pressured on how fast they read.”

“Not everyone is at the same pace or level,” Boylan said. “This way they have a chance to work on their own skills.”

To keep the kids on their toes the library is also going to have prizes for the children so they are encouraged to meet their 1,000-minute reading goal. The prizes are provided by businesses all over the community.

Along with the children’s program, the library is also hosting its first adult reading program for the grown-up readers of Paris.

When asked about this change Boylan said she thought it would be fun for adults too.

“Most of the adults signing up are the parents of the kids that are doing the kids programs, it encourages them to read too,” she said.

The adult program is a little different than the kids program, they get to play bingo. Since it is hard to balance work and life sometimes, the program offers at-home bingo sheets where readers can play at their own pace and have their own reading challenges. The library wants it to be a fun way to challenge readers without the hassle of figuring out work and life schedules.

Boylan said she is hoping the program reaches more children every year. She has only been with the library since 2022 but has seen the potential of the program. She has noticed many kids over the school year have to read books that are at their AR level.

“We aren’t asking kids to read a specific AR level,” Boylan said. “They are going at their own pace and picking out what they want to read. I’ve seen a lot of kids that get excited about a book that they want to read but it’s below their AR levels, so they don’t want to read it anymore. The schools and the library are both educational institutes but we have very different goals and successes. I’m not going to grade them and I want them to read whatever it is that they like”. Even though the library is connected with the schools of Paris, the library is its own space. The space is for everyone and anyone, with no judgment or grades to fear. Just the simplicity of reading a book that one enjoys. Boylan explains the library as a third space.

“You have your first space, which is your work, the second space is your home and the third is a place of socialization where you can find those who are a lot like you,” she said. “The library is a third space for a lot of people, and is welcome to all…we are really looking for more of the teenage group.”

Reading can help with a teen’s learning and help them work on studying for school. Even though most assignments you can do research online for, having the old-fashioned skill of skimming through book after book can be helpful later in life.

To go along with the children’s program, for those that are 13 and younger there is still the chance to participate in the Picasso Piggies Coloring contest, to help select the new piggie for the library.

The last pig was stolen in March, the pignapper was caught but there has been no sign of the poor pig returning. In light of the situation, the library is going to let the children of Paris help choose the new pig.

Children can design what they think the new piggie hire should look like, send it in, and wait to see who wins the contest. The library is hoping that with this unfortunate event, there will be a rainbow around the corner, with help from the community the bond will strengthen and continue with a bright future, for the pig and the children that love him.

Questions about the library’s reading programs or the Picasso Piggies Coloring Contest can be answered by calling 217- 463- 3950, or by visiting the library in person, or online www.parispubliclibrary.org.

Library, Reading, Ceili Boylan