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The Mackenzie Community Library's summer reading programme has been popular among children these holidays. Library manager Jackie Phillips (centre) presents Zen Stewart (12, left) and Vaughn Stewart (11, right) with spot prizes for their involvement in the programme.

Reading is proving a popular pastime in the Mackenzie district this summer.

Mackenzie Community Library staff have been working throughout the festive season to meet demand, closing the doors only for the public holidays.

Among the avid readers making use of the service are 35 children registered for the library’s six-week summer reading programme.

Participants, who receive spot prizes for their involvement, set a target for the number of books they plan to read, with some planning to complete at least 20.

Library manager Jackie Phillips said holidaymakers passing through Fairlie also made use of the library over summer, particularly to use the Wi-Fi service, along with regular library visitors.

“We’ve been really busy,” she said.

“A lot of people only read at this time of year.”

Staff have also been busy stocktaking its 18,000 books over summer, with the aim of working out how many were missing.

“We normally only end up with 20 .. missing,” Mrs Phillips said.

However, those books were sometimes accounted for, one way or another, she said.

“They sometimes slowly start dribbling in or the computer hasn’t registered them properly.”

Mrs Phillips said Lake Tekapo nearly claimed one book this summer, but thanks to an observant passer-by, it was returned to the library.

“One of our regulars had taken it out there [to the lake] but forgot to pick it up [when he left]. He remembered the kids but forgot the book.

“Someone else picked it up and we rang him and gave him a hard time for leaving it at the lake.

“He came back and got it again because he hadn’t finished reading it. His bookmark was even still in it.”