Library works its magic to get kids reading

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Magician and entertainer Brian McGovern entertains the crowd at Mosher Park. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

RAVENA — Mosher Park was alive with the sound of laughter and goofy music Thursday as the RCS Community Library hosted its kick-off to the summer reading program with a special treat — a magic show.

About 115 kids and parents turned out for the show with magician Brian McGovern, who kept everyone giggling and engaged.

“Today we have our magic show with Brian McGovern. He came up from New York City,” said Interim Library Director Barbara Goetschius. “We had him here last year and he is always a huge hit — he is very personable and the kids just love him.”

For local families, the magic show was a big hit.

“It’s great to get the kids together,” said Regina Radley, of Selkirk. “It’s great to get out in the middle of the week and get the kids together and have fun.”

The summer reading program is offered at the library each year to encourage children to keep reading while they are on summer break. Each year there is a different theme, with activities that foster a love of reading.

“This year’s theme is ‘Oceans of Possibilities,’” Goetschius said Thursday. “We will be doing a lot of programs related to oceans, sea life, things like that. For example, next week is ‘Tide Pool Week,’ so we will be making tide pools in plastic bins with sand and rocks and shells and water, of course, and whatever else comes our way. We do stories with the kids and then we do the activity.”

The program is open to all kids, from infants on up.

They earn a raffle ticket for every hour they read; for the younger set, being read to counts, too.

“The goal of the summer reading program is to get kids reading over the summer so they don’t lose ground with their reading skills,” Goetschius said. “It’s like any other muscle in your body — if you stop exercising it, you begin to lose ground and then it hurts a little more when you start up again. This helps bring them in and gives them a chance to do different activities in a safe space and then find books on their own and just have a really good time.”

Kids aren’t the only ones who can benefit from summer reading — there are also raffles for teens and adults. To enter, they just have to read three books over the summer, fill out a raffle ticket, and they will be entered to win prizes.

A young assistant from the audience helps McGovern work his magic. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

The magic show at Mosher Park was the official kick-off to the summer program, but another special event was held at the library, Bubblepalooza, at the end of the school year in June to make sure families know about the summer reading program.

“That was insane — we had to move it inside because it was so windy outside,” Goetschius said. “We had 87 people attend. We opened up the space, we moved furniture out, we moved shelves around, and we brought chairs, chairs and more chairs. They were sitting in the aisles.”

At that event, a performer was brought in and he did activities with bubbles — making them, popping them, putting bubbles on kids’ hands. The big hit of the day was a device he used where a child stood on a platform and using a special circular tray and a loop, the bubble was brought up over the child.

“They went insane for that,” Goetchius said.

With so many events canceled over the past couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Goetchius said it was great to see families back participating in library programs.

“We have had so few programs because of COVID, it’s great to get back in the groove,” she said.

After several weeks of marine-themed activities, the summer reading program will conclude with a bang.

“At the end of the summer we will have a wildlife program, ‘Turtles to Toads,” Goetchius said. “That will be the last activity in the summer reading program, in mid-August.”

“We just want to have fun,” she added.

For more information on the summer reading program and upcoming activities, visit www.rcscommunitylibrary.org.

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