Friday, June 18, 2010


As a child my parents would take me to my hometown library every Saturday morning. The main room of the children's area was brightly decorated with posters and a painted mural of popular storybook characters. There were tables and chairs that were just my size. What drew my attention, however, was the seemingly endless maze of shelves filled with books of all colors, sizes and shapes. It was a wonderful place to discover the joy of reading.

One of my favorite summer activities was belonging to Summer Reading Club. There was a different theme every year. My favorite summer was the year that we had a cowboy theme because I loved horses. The children’s librarian would hand out a sticker printed with a different breed of horse for each book read. We would stick them on a cardboard corral that we received when we registered. At the end of the summer the child with the most horses in their corral won the grand prize. The prizes were always books, most of them written by popular authors of the time-- Marguerite Henry, Beverly Cleary, and Carolyn Keene. The year that I won, in fifth grade, I received a copy of “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. I was very disappointed. I had been hoping for the latest horse story by Walter Farley or maybe “Big Red” by Jim Kjelgaard. But I still had fun and will always look back with fond memories of my summers at the library.

Libraries today have changed in a number of ways to meet the demands of our modern society, but one of their most important underlying purposes is still to help children discover the joy of reading. Summer reading programs keep children enthusiastic about reading.

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