Summer Reading Program hits the region

Throughout the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System, 23 member libraries are participating in the Summer Reading Program the New York State Library promotes every summer.

Within this newspaper's readership area, eight libraries have chosen to take part to encourage children to continue reading once the school year has ended, much to the delight of people like New York State Education commissioner Richard P. Mills.

"These days, families can't afford to buy all the books they might want to read," Mills stated in a press release. "Kids today need arm loads of books - not just for learning, but for inspiring their creative minds, and just to pass the time on a summer day."

CEFLS outreach coordinator Julie Wever said there are other benefits to having the Summer Reading Program, including an increase of usage at the libraries.

"I think it's a great opportunity to increase library usage over the summer and showcase the offerings of a lot of our little member libraries," Wever explained. "There's a wealth of information and opportunities there. This really helps get families in to take part."

CEFLS is assisting their participating libraries by distributing mini-grants to help ease the cost of activities each library endures.

Every year, the NYSL comes up with a theme for participating libraries to follow. This year, the theme is "Be Creative @ Your Library," in which many of the libraries will provide special story times as well as arts and crafts.

However, there is an added element this year for children who choose to take part in the program.

"Every child that participates in the 2009 Statewide Summer Reading Program will receive a signed New York State Senate "Certificate of Merit" in recognition of their effort," Sen. Elizabeth O'C. Little, R-Queensbury, stated in a letter. "Reading during the summer will not only help children perform better academically, but many will also develop a love of reading that lasts a lifetime."

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