Summer Reading-opoly challenge is here

By Kathy Henderson

Are you a summer reading enthusiast who’s missing those library summer reading challenges of your youth, the kind where you tracked books and won prizes?

Then you are the kind of person who will be excited to learn about Summer Reading-opoly. Offered by University of Minnesota Libraries, this fun take-off on the familiar Monopoly game board is designed to promote pleasure reading among students and other community members, enticing them to try different genres and reading experiences.

         And just like those children’s reading programs, submitting entry forms to the U by Sept. 10 brings the possibility of prizes, too.

The Summer Reading-opoly board, instructions and entry forms are available to pick up in the U’s libraries, including the Magrath Library on the St. Paul campus, 1984 Buford Ave., or can be downloaded at

However, there’s more to summer pleasure reading than just having fun tracking what you’re reading around a game board. The U’s funreading site also lists health and wellbeing benefits of pleasure reading, such as “improves vocabulary” and “encourages critical thinking.”

More information on “Reading for Stress Relief” is available via U’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing at

It includes, “Simply by opening a book, you allow yourself to be invited into a literary world that distracts you from your daily stressors. Reading can even relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles.”

In a recent email exchange, Ashley Keys described how a team of U library assistants, known as the Summer Reading Coordinators – Keys, along with Becky Adamski, Molly Bostrom, Rachael Clark, Carmen Elwell, Lacie McMillin, Ai Miller and Alee Schmierer – were inspired by a library game viewed on Pinterest. They brainstormed through Zoom and emails to adapt the popular board game, creating specific summer reading genres and activities within property sets.

“With the game board, the thought was to design with what made sense around campus,” explained Adamski, the board’s graphic designer, in an early July email. Adamski has been contributing her design talents to the program since it was launched with a “Library Book Bingo” game card in 2015.

“I think everybody has their own personal favorite challenges on the board,” Keys wrote, “but something that really stands out this year is the Scooter Activities, which we have in place of railroads. Some of the activities here include visiting a Little Free Library or an independent bookstore, so it definitely pushes people to do other things besides read.”

While Adamski declined to claim any square as her favorite, she admitted her “favorite items on the board are Goldy [Goldy Gopher, the U’s beloved mascot] as Mr. Moneybags and Goldy’s Adirondack chair. Both give the board a sense of character.”

Kathy Henderson lives in St. Paul and is a freelance writer for the Bugle.

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