AMESBURY — At the start of the season, the Amesbury Public Library set a goal for its upcoming adult summer reading program — if its patrons could read 150 books, it would donate $200 to Best Foot Forward.
The program turned out to be a greater success than anyone could’ve imagined, as the library’s patrons stepped up and more than doubled the stated goal, reading 325 books and earning the $200 for Best Foot Forward, which was presented with the money yesterday by assistant library director Erin Matlin.
“We knew the community would do it,” Matlin said. “But it was nice to see that people were absolutely on board with it.”
The library’s adult summer reading program ran from June 24 to Aug. 9, and during that time patrons could register online and record how many books they’d read. The goal of the program was to promote reading among adults, and by setting a donation threshold in addition to offering a grand prize for the top reader, Matlin said the library was able to foster a higher level of community interest.
“We were able to give one of our patrons a gift certificate to the Barking Dog/Ale House as the one who read the most books, and that was exciting, but I think the idea of giving to an organization is a plus for everybody,” she said. “Everyone wins.”
The $200 was donated by the Friends of the Amesbury Public Library, and as it turns out, the program’s top reader could have secured the Best Foot Forward its donation by himself. Salem Boyah, whom Matlin said is a frequent library visitor, took home top honors after he read an astonishing 158 books.
“He was in our teen summer reading program and now he’s continued into the adult program,” Matlin said. “He’s a big reader.”