The Bronx Library Center on Kingsbridge Road hosted an entire day of events in an effort to promote reading for kids during the summer months when they are out of school
The event is part of a national program that looks to stem what studies have termed the “summer slide” or a learning decline experienced by a child when not using the skills he or she learned during the school year. The program gives children access to not just books but also free arts and crafts programs, and last year the program had 75,000 participants who read over 380,000 books.
New York Public President Paul LeClerc wants to beat that total exclaiming, “How many participants do we want this year? 100,000! How many books read? 500,000!”
The children -- who had a day off Thursday for the Chancellor's conference/staff development day -- came to the opening and were greeted by the library mascot lions “Patience” and “Fortitude,” who handed out baseball caps and lunch bags donated by the New York Yankees.
The Yankees also donated $50,000 to branches operating in the Bronx, while Bank of America donated $175,000 to the program. And the Bombers promised two tickets to the first 50 children that signed up for the Summer Reading Program.
The festivities included a performance Tony Award winning actress LaChanze, who read from her new children’s book Little Diva. She also performed a song for the crowd, even asking a child to help her sing onstage.
The library also hosted events that included art made of cereal by Michael Albert, a Step presentation by Mt. St. Ursula Step team. Children also interacted with live hawks, owls and falcons. They also were wowed by the illusions of magician Evan Paquette.
The Bronx Library Center offers events everyday from 9 a.m. to 9p.m. Kids ages 12-18 can enjoy activities that include book readings, game days, and movie nights all summer long.
The Bronx Center also boasts the city’s largest Latino and Puerto Rican Heritage collection and offers its book collection across a variety of media.