Local businesses give discounts to avid readers

The most active readers in Johnson County will be rewarded for their literacy under a nationwide initiative adopted by two library systems in Johnson County.

Under the program, patrons of both the Greenwood Public Library and the Johnson County Public Library earn 10 points for every item they check out, with the exception of e-books and e-audio books. After racking up a certain number of points, readers get discounts at businesses, not just in Johnson County but at any of the hundreds of businesses that participate across the country, My Library Rewards President Mitch Czapla said in an email.

“Our mission is to encourage learning and literacy by offering an exciting platform to reward library patrons,” Czapla said. “Public Libraries are the heart of the community, and we are proud to partner with them to push library services to new heights.”

Both libraries reached out to My Library Rewards, and the program agreed to include the libraries in its network, Czapla said.

People can register for the program at any Johnson County Public Library or Greenwood Public Library branch.

More than 1,300 readers have registered for the program since its launch, with 136 businesses participating in a 15-mile radius of Franklin. At the Johnson County Public Library, almost 6,000 readers have accumulated points, but those readers have to register in order to redeem them. So far, 47 patrons have collected discounts, said Erin Kirchhoff, virtual services manager at the Johnson County Public Library.

“We want people to realize how valuable the library card resources we have are and reward them for being valuable, committed patrons,” Kirchhoff said.

Every September between 2016 and 2018, the two library systems engaged in Play Your Card Right, which local businesses also participated in, giving discounts to people who had library cards. This program has two advantages over its predecessor, however, as readers can use their discounts at participating businesses nationwide, and the program will be ongoing instead of limited to one month a year, said Valerie Holbrook, reference librarian for the Greenwood Public Library.

“We definitely want to encourage people to use the library,” Holbrook said. “Also, it’s giving people who are already using us an extra bonus, which is pretty cool. People are going to the library and getting books, but there’s a bonus treat for doing that and they really enjoy it.”

Anyone ages 13 and up can register for the rewards program, but families can combine their children’s library cards with theirs to accumulate the points on one account. Pilsung ATA Martial Arts in Greenwood is offering a free one-month master’s trial with a uniform for readers who accumulate 500 points, according to the My Library Rewards website.

As martial arts combines physical fitness with discipline and knowledge, the rewards program is a useful combination of the two, said Pilsung ATA co-owner Brian Myers.

“It’s something for the community that encourages reading, growth and the learning process,” Myers said. “We’re more than just punching and kicking. We’re about learning and growth.”

Paintball Indiana, located between Franklin and Edinburgh, is offering a buy-one-get-one-free deal for readers who collect 200 points. Giving people rewards for being well-read is a valuable strategy, especially for youth, Owner Ryno Jonck said.

“I just think giving an incentive of something fun to do is pretty cool,” Jonck said. “With the reading program there’s something to offer with youngsters being targeted.”

At uPaint, a pottery studio in Greenwood, readers have already taken advantage of the 200-point offer for a free studio session. The My Library Rewards program encourages the community to read and provides exposure for area businesses, uPaint owner Kelli Singleton said.

“It’s just great networking for small businesses,” Singleton said. “It brings awareness to uPaint and it provides a great community service.”

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Readers who register for My Library Rewards at their local library can earn 10 points for every item they check out. For a complete list of participating businesses, visit mylibraryrewards.com