PLDL Launches Read for Relief, A New Summer Reading Initiative

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The Portage Lake District Library’s (PLDL) annual summer reading program is coming soon, and with a charitable twist. Through a collaboration with the Portage Health Foundation (PHF), PLDL and the Hancock School Public Library (HSPL) will engage residents in summer reading while also helping the local nonprofit community heal from the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s program, Read for Relief, will award funds to area nonprofits if a community reading goal is met by the end of the 10-week program.

Each year, PLDL hosts a summer reading program that seeks to keep children and families reading all summer long, and to help prevent what educators call the summer slide. The summer slide is described as the tendency for students to lose reading achievement gains made the year prior if they are not reading over the summer. The program begins on Saturday, June 27.

“I’m thrilled that we’ve found a way to leverage our flagship summer reading program to assist our community in recovering from the pandemic,” Library Director Dillon Geshel said, “and grateful for Portage Health Foundation’s collaboration and generosity on that front.”

Read for Relief participants will receive prizes and incentives as they reach different reading benchmarks throughout the program. Prizes this year include a free book and a $5 voucher to the Downtown Houghton Farmer’s Market.

“We are happy to partner with the library on this initiative,” PHF Executive Director Kevin Store said. “It addresses several of PHF’s long-term goals, including access to education, developing an appreciation for philanthropy and charity within our young people, and providing financial support to a number of safety-net organizations which serve children and families in our community. We hope the patrons of the library take this challenge to heart and participate in this creative, charitable activity that will support the library and our broader community.”

Upon finishing the program, participants will have the opportunity to select between U.P. Kids, Keweenaw Family Resource Center and Dial Help to receive funding from PHF. If Read for Relief participants log at least 20,000 hours of reading, monetary donations will be distributed to all three nonprofits.

In coordination with Read for Relief, PLDL has kicked-off a fundraising campaign that asks donors to help raise $15,000 to support both libraries with anticipated revenue losses tied to the pandemic. The Portage Health Foundation will match these contributions, dollar for dollar, up to $15,000, to be distributed to our selected Read for Relief nonprofits when the community reading goal is met.

“The Portage Health Foundation has challenged PLDL to raise $15,000 over the 10-week program. Every dollar we raise will be matched by PHF to benefit our selected non-profits,” Geshel said. “In short, your donation to the library will double as a contribution to vital safety-net organizations in our area.”

The Read for Relief Summer Reading Program is free and open to all. Registration will open on Saturday, June 27. Visit the PLDL website at to learn more about Read for Relief. You can make a donation to PLDL today on their website, here.


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