Jeff Quinn has been bringing magic to Fremont for a long time.
For over a decade, the Omaha-based magician and hypnotist has been providing area children with a sense of wonder and amazement at his annual magic show during Keene Memorial Library’s Summer Reading Program.
“If we don’t have Jeff Quinn here, then it just isn’t summer reading,” Laura England-Biggs, longtime Summer Reading Program Coordinator, said.
On Monday, a new group of local youths were introduced to Quinn as he used ropes, handkerchiefs and other props to wow them with a magical performance at the Fremont City Auditorium.
Quinn’s show was the final Special Program Monday performance scheduled for the summer. The list of Special Program Monday entertainment this year included children’s band String Beans, Curtis Monk—Lego Guy, Omaha Street Percussion and Wildlife Encounters.
The annual performances proved to be particularly popular this year as Omaha Street Percussion, Wildlife Encounters and Jeff Quinn had to be moved from the large meeting room at the library to the Fremont City Auditorium to accomodate the number of people who registered for each event.
During this year’s performance, Quinn’s show revolved around music, feeding off of “Libraries Rock,” the national Summer Reading Program theme this year.
He performed such feats as changing the color of 45 RPM records from their standard black, to red, yellow and blue by simply putting each record into a record sleeve and waving a colored handkerchief in front of it.
He also provided a more literal interpretation of the “Libraries Rock” theme by pulling not one, but two, large rocks from his shoe during the performance.
“I’ve got a little something in my shoe that is bothering me, you don’t mind if I take it off for a second?” he asked the crowd.
While the children in attendance were intently focused on finding the misdirection, Quinn directed the children to what he described as the best way to learn magic tricks.
“I could teach you how I do some of my tricks, but the best place to learn them is right over there,” he said pointing in the direction of Keene Memorial Library. “The library has a ton of great books about magic tricks.”
While getting the chance to see a variety of magic tricks performed by Quinn is one reason kids get excited about the annual Summer Reading Program, the real benefit of the program after all is to keep kids turning the pages over the summer months.
In 2017, Keene’s Summer Reading Program saw 315 people sign up, with 203 of those logging minutes. Of the total of 315 people who signed up last year, 226 were children, 25 were teens and 64 were adults.
The 203 participants who logged minutes in 2017 totaled 153,171 minutes of reading.
Another positive from last year’s Summer Reading Program was that a record number of readers earned digital badges through Beanstack, the reading database. These digital badges recognize reading accomplishments and progress being made.
To earn a single badge, readers had to put in 110 minutes of work. In 2017, readers earned a grand total of 1,243 badges.
This year, readers who have been participating in the Summer Reading Program have amassed 116,977 minutes of reading so far with 41 days to go in the program. That number accounts for 58 percent of the goal set by Keene for the summer, which is 200,000 total reading minutes.
While Quinn’s performance on Monday served as the final Special Program Monday’s entertainment, there is still a lot of reading to be done and still opportunities to participate.
Those looking to participate in the Summer Reading Program can still register all the way through to the last day of the program on August 12.
Registration can be made online by visiting keene.beanstack.org/reader365.