June 29, 2016

Partly sunny

Reading celebrated on Medina’s Public Square

Fred Beaver, of the Ruhlin Co., joins Carl of "Where the Wild Things Are" and the title character of the Froggy book series dancing with children in a game to win books during the Book Riot on Medina's Public Square on Friday. Beaver and other Ruhlin Co. employees volunteered their time to help Project: LEARN host the Book Riot. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

There were rioters and a monster Friday on Medina’s Public Square. No, they weren’t villagers with pitchforks and torches hunting Frankenstein’s creation.

It was a Book Riot, sponsored by Project: LEARN.

The group celebrated its 30th anniversary by living up to its name, which stands for Let Every Adult Read Now, At precisely noon, a bell rang and everyone on the square was invited to sit and read a book for 15 minutes.

Several hundred people gathered on the square and there was a little bit for everyone — used book sales, Ohio authors, children’s authors, and games and crafts.

The goal of Project: LEARN is to provide reading resources and improve literacy among adults, Executive Director Linda Smalley said. But promoting overall family literacy is also important.

“We serve adults primarily,” she said. “But with families, they either read as a family or they don’t. We really have to reach the whole family.”

Five years ago, Project: LEARN opened a bookstore in Medina at 105 W. Liberty St. Since then, two more stores have been added — in Brunswick and in Wadsworth. The stores sell used books at low costs with proceeds benefiting adult literacy programs.

“It supports our goals but also allows families a place to get books at low cost,” she said. “You can spend $20 and walk away with books for each family member.”

Friday’s Book Riot featured used books for sale from the Medina County Public Library, Project: LEARN and other local vendors. Regular patrons of the library, which is across the southeast corner of the square, and anyone who was on the square during lunchtime were invited to participate.

Running 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Project: LEARN hoped to snag people on lunch break to stop by and browse for books.

Rebekah Reuter and her husband, Steven, were on the square for lunch.

“We just saw the books and the people and stopped over,” Rebekah said, as she browsed the discount books available for purchase.

Other families planned to visit the Book Riot and grab lunch while they were uptown.

“We’re also going to head over to Miss Molly’s Tea Room,” said Barb Weatherlow who attended the Book riot with her daughter, Melinda Weatherlow, and granddaughters, Naomi and Lillian Weatherlow-Rand. The family enjoyed the children’s activities before sitting down to read at noon.

Smalley and Project: LEARN organizers had hoped to set a record for the most people reading at one time, but Smalley said they weren’t able to get enough people for the record.

“We won’t set a record, but I think it’s neat to have everyone in the square sit to read at once,” Smalley said.

For more information on Project: LEARN programs and bookstore locations, visit www.projectlearnmedina.org.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.