Seattle Public Library’s Summer Book Bingo enters eighth year with new categories
by Amanda Ong
This summer, the Seattle Public Library is hosting Summer Book Bingo – an adult summer reading program, now in its eighth year. And everyone can participate! Simply pick up a bingo card from any library location, or download one online in English or Spanish, and start reading to fill in the categories. Each bingo location offers a different reading challenge. You can read books in five categories for successful bingo – a cross line, up, down or diagonal – or in all 25 boxes for blackout.
“[Summer Book Bingo] is for everyone – from the avid reader who wants a fun challenge to the adult who wants to reconnect with reading,” said Misha Stone, Reader Services Librarian at the Seattle Public Library. emerald. “Many of us want to read more adventurously or take more time to read in our busy lives, and every summer this program offers a common way to do just that. Readers choose what they want to read based on categories, and the staff are happy to help them find books to try!”
Readers have May 18 through September 6 to complete and submit their cards to enter a raffle for the Library and Seattle Arts & Readings (SAL) prizes. The map features a mix of fun and creative categories, while also featuring categories that celebrate the diversity of voices in their collections. This year, some new categories include “Non-binary/genderqueer author or character” and “Located south of the equator.” Some other interesting categories are “Out of Your Comfort Zone”, “Banned or Disputed Book”, “Blue Cover”, and “Sci-Fi or Fantasy by a BIPOC Author”.
Summer Book Bingo is presented by the Library and SAL, and anyone 18 or older can read, explore fun categories, and enter their raffle. The staff has also generously created lists of fantastic books for readers to find inspiration, and anyone can stop by the neighborhood branch of the Seattle Public Library for recommendations from the staff. You can also call 206-386-4636 during library hours to ask for suggestions, or email or chat with staff through the library’s Ask Us service.
“I love that this program celebrates books and reading and helps adults reconnect with their reading in creative and empowering ways,” Stone said. “Adult readers deserve fun summer programs too! Working on a program that centers adult readers and also celebrates the richness of our library’s collections and the literary landscape of our community is such a joy.
Since its inception, the library has created over 200 reading challenges for Summer Book Bingo and garnered a number of dedicated fans. Two fans, Brooke Densmore Williams and Erin Okuno, have created a year-round Book Bingo group on Facebook that centers books by traditionally marginalized authors.
“Book Bingo made me love reading even more and introduced me to new genres/formats/authors (romance, speculative fiction, graphic memoir, audiobooks, to name a few), as well as other readers,” Densmore Williams said. “I was already a fan before the pandemic, but Book Bingo has been a lifeline for many of us in 2020.”
Plus, every read counts. Audiobooks, children’s books, young adult books – all can fit into the reading categories. The focus is on encouraging adults to read and discover new books together that they will enjoy. This year the library is also trying to boost participation in Spanish Summer Book Bingo and is working on a separate raffle for Spanish readers which will be available soon.
“I love Summer Book Bingo,” Okuno said. “A few years ago I stopped taking it very seriously and started having more fun with it, including engaging children’s books, cookbooks, etc. I also enjoy swapping titles and researching new books and authors to complete the bingo board.”
Stone says her favorite part of Summer Book Bingo is this – the outpourings of excitement and joy from the readers. Especially during the pandemic, many readers messaged the library saying Summer Book Bingo gave them a chance to escape, hope, connect with friends and something to look forward to amid the gloom of the pandemic.
“As a librarian who focuses on reader counseling, the art of helping readers find the next book they will enjoy, Summer Book Bingo is close to my heart,” said Stone. “Each year I discover something new by pushing myself to read outside of my comfort zones, to read genres I don’t usually gravitate towards, and to read more books by diverse authors, and each year I finds so many amazing gems that I otherwise couldn’t.Readers enthusiastically share the surprise and wonder in their Book Bingo discoveries each year – and their sharing underscores the importance of this program to our customers and our community.
You can submit your completed Summer Book Bingo card by dropping off your card, or a copy, at any branch of the Seattle Public Library, emailing an image of the front and back of your card to [email protected] spl.org, or by posting a photo. from the front of your card to Facebook, Twitter (@SeaArtsReadings, @SPLBuzz), or Instagram (@seattleartsandlectures, @SeattlePublicLibrary). Be sure to tag #BookBingoNW2022.
The Seattle Public Library also hosts a summer program for children and teens, the Summer of Learning program. This is their second year of support from the Friends of the Seattle Public Library, who donated gift certificates to the independent bookstore for the Book Bingo graduating raffle.
Get or download a bingo card in English or Spanish and start reading!
Amanda Ong (she) is a Chinese-American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate in the University of Washington’s Museum Studies program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in Creative Writing and Ethnic and Racial Studies.
📸 Featured Image: Summer Book Bingo card illustration by Jorge Villavicencio, a first-generation American who grew up in Washington State with family roots in Oaxaca, Mexico. You can find Jorge’s murals in San Diego, CA and Everett, WA. Image courtesy of Seattle Public Library.
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