Greenfield Daily Reporter - July 25, 2013
Annual Carnival Wraps up Popular Library Program
GREENFIELD — With water racing, miniature golf, skee ball and the ever-popular lollipop tree, Thursday’s carnival at the Hancock County Public Library was a crowded celebration for gleeful kids and proud parents.
A final summer hurrah, the library’s annual carnival wraps up two months’ worth of activities and reading for children, teens and adults.
“I’m going to miss these kids when they go back to school,” youth services manager Cathy Riley said while being splashed with squirts of water from one of the carnival games.
While the summer reading program requires plenty of planning and coordination from the children’s librarians, Riley said the hard work is worth it because it helps children get excited about reading through animal programs, crafts and prizes. That excitement is something they might not necessarily get from textbooks in school, she added.
“It’s sort of a vacation for reading because it’s reading for pleasure,” Riley said. “It may be changing their minds about reading.”
To date, 40,995 books have been read by children and adults for the summer reading program. The majority of those, 33,709, were read by the kids.
A total of 3,199 people participated in summer reading this year: 670 adults, 455 teens and 2,074 children.
Participation by children was down slightly from 2012, but there was an increase in teen and adult participants. Riley said this year, she tried to encourage parents to sign up with their children to set a good example.
For Greenfield mom Erin Sharp, getting her three boys involved in summer reading was a no-brainer.
“It’s easy for them to get glued to the TV and kind of stuck inside,” said Sharp, who participated in the adult summer program. “I really want them to get a love for reading like I have.”
The Sharps – Damien, 9; Nathan, 6; and Gavin, 4 – were enjoying games both inside and outside, ranging from shuffle board to marshmallow launching.
Damien liked Plinko the best. After all, he got two Tootsie Rolls out of the deal.
“I won on my first try!” he said.
Greenfield mom Gina Pfeiffer said the carnival was a way to celebrate her kids’ accomplishments. Mallory, 10, Lauren, 7, and Duke, 2, beamed with painted faces at all the activities.
Pfeiffer said keeping the kids’ noses in books will give them a head start for next week’s first day of school.
“It’s something they look forward to every year,” Pfeiffer said. “It definitely helps (them prepare for school). It would be very hard to jump into school after not reading any books since May.”
While many parents were grateful that the library’s program helps children continue to learn while school’s out, there were also plenty of preschool parents who were grateful as well for the early jump into reading.
Christina Jones, for example, doesn’t necessarily pick reading as a favorite pastime herself, but she fell in love with reading to her 4-year-old daughter, Isabella.
Bouncy balls were the favorite prize at the carnival, and some simply enjoyed taking pictures in the cut-outs of wooden animals.
Preschoolers Sean and Zach Pearson roared through the face of a lion, while mom Mindy Pearson snapped some shots. The Cumberland family comes to the library regularly, and Pearson enjoyed logging books with her boys this summer.
“We’re here all the time anyway,” she said. “They love reading; they take home bags and bags of books. Why not get prizes for reading?”