WORTHINGTON -  Warm up that couch, heat up the cocoa and grab a pile of your favorite books: winter reading season is in full gear.


Accordingly, the Nobles County Library is doing its part to support literary-minded adults with its annual winter reading program, sponsored by the Plum Creek Library System and its member libraries.


“This year it’s called ‘Winter Reads’ and anyone 16 or older can join in,” said Myra Palmer, the library’s circulation and technical services coordinator and acting director.


“Basically, the program encourages adults to read during the winter months, because reading is a good thing to do when you’re trapped inside a little more than usual.”


Interested readers can visit the library to sign up and collect a card that will help them keep a running tally of the books they’re consuming as the winter wears on.


“Just cross off the numbers as you read away,” said Palmer. “The goal is to read 12 books by March 31.


“Audio and eBooks count - so do cookbooks if you’re someone who likes to read them from cover to cover,” she added. “Really, any form of reading counts.”


Last year, at least 112 people got involved. They, like those who log a minimum of 12 books this season, were the beneficiaries of small prizes that are awarded when readers turn in their completed cards.


“We have mugs and chocolate bars to choose from,” said Palmer. “And these are large bars, not just your 49-cent candy bars.”


Palmer assures would-be participants that the Nobles County Library has a well-rounded stock of material on hand to satisfy almost anyone’s preference.


“And we get new items in every month,” said Palmer. “Really, there’s no single genre that’s more popular than another, but some of the more popular authors whose names we see time and again are Danielle Steele, James Patterson and William Kent Krueger.


“Minnesota author Brian Freeman has a new book coming out [“The Crooked Street,” scheduled for a Jan. 29 release], and several local book clubs make us aware of new author names at times, too.”


If you’re a particularly avid reader, Palmer advises that there’s no limit to the number of 12-book cards you can complete between now and the end of March - even if there might be a cap on how many chocolate bars you can easily absorb while still managing to fit within the confines of your favorite reading chair.


“The kids get the summer reading program, so this is something fun for adults in the wintertime,” said Palmer.


“Reading can help pass the time before golfing and gardening start again, so come on down and pick up some books to read during these colder months.”


The Nobles County Library is located at 407 12th St., Worthington, and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call the library at 295-5340 with questions about “Winter Reads” or available materials.