Library begins superpowered summer

Superhero books are flying off the shelves faster than speeding bullets at the Amherst Public Library.

Wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with Superman’s crest, children’s librarian Cheryl Ashton explained Monday how the “Be a Super Reader” summer program is drawing a lot of attention.

Six hundred children had already signed up for the annual book-a-thon, crafting days, stories, and games. That number could top out around 800 in July.

The tweens program for middle school-aged kids continues to boom. Ashton wants to have a record 300 teenagers involved this year.

There are also about 200 adults involved in the seasonal reading campaign.

Popular movies always drive book check-outs, so it’s no surprise that superhero fare is big.

“The Avengers: Age of Ultron” has made more than $1 billion worldwide since its May 1 release. Coming this summer are Marvel’s “Ant Man” and a reboot of “The Fantastic Four.”

Those have helped boost graphic novels into heavy circulation.

Dinosaur books are also huge with young Amherst readers following the $209 million box office debut of “Jurassic World” over the weekend.

LEGO, Minecraft, and Star Wars books are also hugely popular, Ashton said.

While the library has culled its nonfiction section in the past year, young adult offerings are growing. Teens are already asking for titles from AP English and other summer reading lists as well.

“We just like to see kids be involved with their local library. As they grow up they find what resources we have here, the friendly faces we have here, and how we can help,” Ashton said.

She is especially looking forward to the July 1 launch of a LEGO contest for all ages.

Send a photo of your toy block creations to to be entered into a drawing for a $50 Toys R Us gift certificate. Pictures will also be posted at and around the library.

There’s just one rule: You have to be in the photo.

If you don’t have a camera, take your creation to the library on Spring Street and librarians will take one for you.

“Each creation has a story of its own and that’s the most fun part,” said Ashton.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.