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Library’s summer reading program gets off to a sweet start

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Sisters Priya and Ellie Parker stocked up on books for the summer at the library’s summer reading program kickoff. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

RAVENA — The RCS Community Library’s summer reading program got off to a sweet start last weekend with an ice cream social.

Every year the Upper Hudson Library System holds a summer reading program aimed at keeping kids reading when school is out to keep up their literacy skills and build a lifelong love of reading.

The theme of this year’s summer reading program is “Bee a Reader.” Students and adults alike are encouraged to read — in various forms — and will then be eligible for prizes.

Poulomi Parker brought her two daughters, Priya and Ellie, to sign up for the reading program, participate in activities and enjoy a sweet treat.

“We are checking out the stations and signing up for summer reading. The ice cream was a big pull,” Parker said. “The kids will do a lot of reading this summer — we already stocked up on a lot of books.”

Robert Shufelt and his sons Therin and Zebadiah are from Valley Falls but were “expeditioning” Saturday. The library system is conducting a “Library Expedition,” challenging area families to visit all of the libraries in the system.

“We are expeditioning,” Shufelt said. “An expedition is when  you are trying to hit all 36 different libraries within the Upper Hudson Library System.”

Robert Shufelt and his sons Therin and Zebadiah are from Valley Falls but visited the RCS Community Library as part of the library system’s Expedition program. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Each library the family has visited so far — and RCS was the 21st for the Shufelts — had something new and different to offer. At the RCS library, Shufelt was surprised to find the ice cream social.

“It was a very pleasant surprise,” he said.

Debbie Carr, vice president of the RCS Community Library Board of Trustees, said the program seeks to keep kids reading and make it fun for them.

“It’s important for the kids to read and we want to encourage them to come to the library and continue reading over the summer when they are not in school,” Carr said.

There are prizes for readers of all ages, Library Director Lisa Neuman said.

For younger kids, reading is measured in time, and it counts whether the child is reading for themselves or if someone else, like a parent, grandparent or sibling, is reading to them.

“There are four levels of prizes and you earn prizes as you read for two hours, five hours, seven hours and 10 hours,” Neuman said. “For the younger kids, they track time and at two hours they can get stickers or a cookie, at five hours it’s a Stewart’s ice cream coupon, at seven hours it’s an RCS Community Library beach ball and at 10 hours it’s a color-changing water bottle.”

RCS Community Library Board of Trustees Vice President Debbie Carr, Library Director Lisa Neuman and board President Lori Dickerson dish out a sweet treat during the library’s summer reading program kick-off. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

There is a separate summer reading program for teens and adults.

“For every three books they read, they can fill out a raffle ticket,” Neuman said. “They get a prize for turning in their ticket, which is a pen, a cookie or a sticker, and then they can enter to win one of the raffle baskets that we have.”

The themed raffle baskets include a car wash basket, an outdoor adventure basket and an ice cream raffle basket.

Any kind of reading counts, including e-books, audio books, and even podcasts.

Neuman outlined a new benefit for book lovers — with the library’s Libby app, RCS readers can also sign up for electronic library access to three nearby libraries, the Mid Hudson, Southern Adirondack and Mohawk Valley libraries. You can even sign up to get a library card to the New York Public Library in New York City, which will give you access to electronic content through that expansive library system.

Siblings Sam Feuerbach, 9, and Hannah Feuerbach, 7, sign up for the library’s summer reading program. This year’s theme is “Bee a Reader.” Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media
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