Gayle Roberts loves how Blair loves to read.
It's one aspect of her job as the director of the Blair Public Library and Technology Center that makes Robert's emotional.
Though she vowed not to cry as she announced the results of this year's Summer Reading Program, Roberts couldn't hold back the tears.
"We had the best summer ever," Roberts said during the program's end-of-the celebration Friday. "I know I say that every year, but again, it was the best summer."
More than 1,200 people signed up for this year's program, with 48,740 items checked out. The library offered 354 programs, with 17,029 people attending, Roberts said.
"That is amazing and we thank all of you for coming and being a part of summer reading," she said.
Roberts also took time Friday to thank the library staff and volunteers, with whom she said the program would not be as successful. She said volunteers logged 2,213 hours during the summer program.
Roberts and Children's Librarian Wendy Lukert said there are a number of reasons the program continues to see record-breaking participation.
"We have fun and we try to offer new things each year," Lukert said.
The space the library has to offer is also key, she and Roberts said, as is word-of-mouth.
"The reputation has just grown and because of that, we have been able to offer so much more," Roberts said.
This year, Roberts said, the library tried a new format on the reading side. Instead of participants filling out reading logs, they would check out an item and when they returned it, they were given a card for a prize.
"That's the new trend in the country," Roberts said.
Library staff is already looking ahead to next year, Lukert said. A survey conducted this year will assist with the planning, she said.
Lukert said her favorite part of this year's Summer Reading program was interacting with the kids and "seeing how excited they get when they talk about the different books and different things they were making.”
Robert's continues to be thankful for the opportunity to offer the program.
"I'm always so thankful for the community support and being able to brighten the kids' days and giving them something to do," she said.