Bob Downing

The Akron-Summit County Public Library’s summer reading program was a family affair for 29-year-old Lia Wallace of Akron.


She participated, along with her sons, Sean, 4, and Michael, 2.


Her mother, Edith Reyes, 62, of Akron, who had told Wallace about the program, also participated.


“We’re a family that reads all the time,” Wallace said.


The Reyes-Wallace family was part of the big summer reading program dubbed “Mind, Body & Sole” that was designed to get people walking, too.


A total of 13,080 individuals participated in the program that ended Sept. 10, library director David Jennings said.


That’s an increase in excess of 3,200 people from the 2011 summer reading program, he said.


This year’s participants read 82,838 books, Jennings said, an increase of 18,288 (about 28 percent) from the 2011 total.


Mind, Body & Sole “definitely appears to have provoked new interest in the library’s summer activity,” he said.


The library will host its Mind, Body & Sole prize drawing and celebration at 7 p.m. Friday as part of the Akron Marathon Health & Fitness Expo at the John S. Knight Center, 77 E. Mill St. Participants are encouraged to wear their Mind, Body & Sole T-shirts to the event.


For more information, go to http://mbs.akronlibrary.org.


Participants, who received pedometers at the beginning of the summer, were required to read or listen to 26 books, e-books or articles and run/walk 26 miles or 52,000 pedometer steps.


A marathon is just over 26 miles, and that’s why those numbers were chosen.


The library was joined by the Akron Marathon, Summit County Public Health, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Metro Parks, Serving Summit County in sponsoring the summer reading-exercise program.


Lia Wallace and her family did their part.


Sean read 90 books, and Michael read 60 books.


Both home-schooled youngsters have been reading since they were toddlers, their mother said. She read books, articles, Bible passages and cookbooks (in preparation for overhauling the family’s eating habits, she said) to meet the requirements.


Their grandmother logged the required 26 books plus other materials, including her ministerial readings, she said.


“We’re a family that likes to keep moving, keep pushing,” Wallace said. “We don’t do a lot of TV. ... It was simple. It was easy. It was a lot of fun.”


The family walked at local tracks, in city parks and in metro parks, Reyes said.


She said it was fun walking with her grandchildren, although she admitted she spent much of the time “chasing after them and racing with them.”


It was, she said, “a chance to work on my weight.”


The program enabled “us to do something that was fun together and to bond,” she said. “It was a great program.”


Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.