Carmel library’s winter reading program to benefit Exotic Animal Rescue and Pet Sanctuary


By Chris Bavender

The Carmel Clay Library Winter Reading Program will kick off Dec. 17 and run through Jan. 31, 2022. In previous years, the winter reading programs for kids, teens and adults were separate, but this year the age groups will be combined.

“By presenting a single Winter Reading Program for all ages this year, we can give all ages the chance to support a local nonprofit organization through their reading,” said Christy Walker, CCPL communications manager. “An added benefit is that families can count the reading that they do together and even get a little fun family competition going if they want to.”

For the past couple of years, the library identified a local charity, such as the Carmel Summer Meals Program and the Humane Society for Hamilton County, to support with donations during its Summer Reading Program, and Walker said patrons loved that. This year’s Winter Reading Program will support Carmel’s Exotic Animal Rescue and Pet Sanctuary (EARPS).

“As patrons read books and completed activities, the library made donations to the selected charity. Patrons especially enjoyed helping the Humane Society’s animals last summer, so we decided to extend that connection this winter with a different animal-focused organization,” Walker said. “EARPS is a somewhat less well-known local organization, and we’re excited to shine a light on the work they do to help a wide variety of animal species who are in need of a good home.”

Teen and adult participants will earn a donation to EARPS when they finish their first book and again when they finish their third book. They will also be entered into a prize drawing for each book that they finish (up to four books total) and a coupon for a free book at the library’s Foundation Friends Bookstore for completing four books overall. Ebooks and audiobooks count for the Winter Reading Program just like print books.

“For kids who participate — grade 5 and younger — they can choose to either keep track of the number of books they’ve read or the amount of time they’ve spent reading, and there are fun learning activities that they can count, too,” Walker said. “Completing nine of these reading blocks and activities earns them an online badge and their first donation to EARPS; another nine earns them their second badge and second donation. Kids also earn a book to keep for themselves when they complete that second badge.”

Walker said library staff have heard over the years from patrons that the winter months are a great time to curl up inside with good books.

“So having a reading program at this time of year helps brighten up what can be dark and chilly days,” she said. “It also brings a little cheer to what can sometimes feel like a post-holiday slump for people.”

Sign up for and participate in the program online by visiting or by using the free Beanstack Tracker app.