The Akron-Summit County Library summer reading and wellness program will take place June 9 through August 30. The program, named Mind, Body & Sole, features both a reading and a fitness component

The Akron-Summit County Library summer reading and wellness program will take place June 9 through August 30. The program, named Mind, Body & Sole, features both a reading and a fitness component.

“This program is so important because it is a celebration of reading and activity,” said Mary Tanner, Youth Librarian at the Green Branch Library.

Participants are encouraged to read for 30 minutes a day for at least 26 days. To complete both parts of the program, participants are encouraged to walk or run at least 26 miles between now and Aug. 30.

“We recognized the need to add a wellness component to the reading component,” said Carla Davis, Marketing Communications Director of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. “That’s why the name is Mind, Body & Sole. We are complete beings and we need take care of every part.”

Participants can earn prizes throughout the program by completing reading goals, and they can also earn a t-shirt and be entered into a grand prize when they achieve the 26 day reading and 26-mile activity goals. Prizes and incentives are also awarded for reading milestones of 10, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 days.

Summer reading is critical, especially for students. Those who don’t take time to read during the summer can fall behind, losing the reading skills they worked so hard to develop during the school year.

“We don’t want kids to lose their reading abilities over the summer,” said Cheryl Luck, branch manager of the Portage Lakes branch.

Each Akron Public Library branch held its own kick-off event and will offer a variety of activities in conjunction with Mind, Body & Sole throughout the summer. At the main branch, there will be an indoor walking tour on Saturday mornings in June that will allow participants to complete a one mile walk while learning about library services.

The Green Branch Library will have family events at 1 and 3 p.m. on Wednesdays from June 18 through July 30. It will also have events for grades five through 12 at 2 p.m. on Thursdays.

“We’re excited about our animal programs this summer,” Tanner said. “I’m excited about the teen chef club. It’s new for 2014.”

The Portage Lakes branch will have its special programming at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning June 18.

“Probably what we are most proud of is, on June 18, we’re having a community fun day,” Luck said. “The fire and police department will be here. We’ll be passing out popsicles.”

To sign-up for the Mind, Body & Sole program visit your local library branch. Additional information about the program is available at mbs.akronlibrary.org.

The program is presented in partnership with the Akron Marathon, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Summit County Public Health and Summit Metroparks.  It is supported by Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General, Akron RubberDuck, First Book, Friends of the Main Library, Rubber City McDonald’s and Summa Health System.