Kim Gibson, library manager at Haxton Memorial Library in Oakfield, shows a chain which children will receive as part of the library’s summer reading program. Children will receive a bead to put on the chain for every 20 minutes of reading they do.
OAKFIELD -- Haxton Memorial Library’s Summer Reading Program got off to a rousing start with a kickoff carnival Thursday in Triangle Park.
Library Manager Kim Gibson said the summer reading program has been such a success, and the 125 children who attended the kickoff are a testament to that.
“With parents and friends, we had at least 250 people here,” Gibson said.
There is no mistaking Gibson’s love of her job and her passion for promoting reading in the community. Gibson has been at the library for 18 years – eight as children’s librarian and 10 as library manager.
“This event gets the word out and tells the community what we’re all about,” Gibson said of the kickoff carnival.
Children who attended the carnival received an entry in a drawing for entrance to the New York State Fair. They also received a ticket to each of the stations set up in the park, which included cotton candy, popcorn, games and face painting.
There were also balloons and animals from the Buffalo Zoomobile.
Most importantly, the carnival gave Gibson, library staff and her volunteers the opportunity to promote the summer reading program, which is in its fourth year.
The theme this year is “A Universe of Stories” and it runs from July 1 to Aug. 9.
The program features ongoing contests and prizes, movies at 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, story time at 10:30 a.m. Mondays and a family activity every Thursday at 7 p.m.
A new feature this year which Gibson is excited about is a chain, which every child will receive. Children are encouraged to read at home and for every 20 minutes of reading documented, they receive a bead for their chain. When they reach two hours of reading, they get a “brag tag” for the chain.
“I got the idea for a couple of other libraries, where it’s been very successful,” Gibson said. “They can come in whenever we’re open and give us their times, which we will keep in a folder.”
She said children will be on their honor in recording their reading time.
“If they want to read the same book over, that’s OK, too,” she said.
Gibson said the summer reading program is so important because it gets children in the library, and it’s free.
The summer reading program includes special activities for all the family, from young children to adults, such as making robots and rockets, space-themed craft nights, a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt and two nights of Brush Strokes read and paint. Early registration is necessary for Brush Strokes, because it fills up fast, Gibson said. The idea of Brush Strokes for children 2 to 12 is to read about something, such as a llama, and then paint it.
For the adults, there is a basket raffle. For every book they take out they receive an entry to win one of the theme baskets, put together with items donated by the community. At the end of the six weeks, the number of books taken out is tallied up and the top reader receives a gift card.
“We are trying to encourage reading across the board – from young children to adults,” Gibson said.
Gibson said the summer reading program is accomplished with the help of wonderful volunteers and donations from many businesses in the community. She said the children’s clerk, Hayley Lown did a lot of work preparing for the program.
“This event takes a lot of planning and a lot of hard work, but in the end it’s worth it,” Gibson said. “We are very fortunate to have so many dedicated staff and volunteers. We have some regular library volunteers and others from the Oakfield Betterment Committee. We couldn’t do it without them.”
Gibson said she knows everyone is busy in the summers, and it’s wonderful to see so many children who want to read.
The summer reading program will conclude Aug. 9 with an ice cream party, thanks to a local individual who donates the ice cream.
“I love the library,” Gibson said. “It’s been a huge part of my life and it’s so exciting to see kids come in and take books out. I see so many kids who used to come in to my story hour in the children’s library, and now they are graduating.”
Gibson said there aren’t many places for kids to go in their small community, and this is the library’s way to give back to the community.
Information on the summer reading program can be found on their website at www.haxtonlibrary.org, by calling the library at 948-9900 or visiting them at 3 North Pearl St.
Photos by Virginia Kropf.
Jill Klotzbach, whose daughter Hayley Lown is the children’s clerk at Haxton Memorial Library, carries balloons to Triangle Park for a carnival Thursday night to kick off the summer reading program.
Kim Gibson, left, library manager at Haxton Memorial Library, and Board President Ann Engel, sign in children Thursday night in Triangle Park for the kickoff carnival for the summer reading program.
Riley D’Alba gives cotton candy to Brooklyn Esten, 5, during the carnival Thursday night in Triangle Park to kick off Haxton Memorial Library’s summer reading program.
Lily Davis, 12, volunteered to pass out balloons to children who attended the carnival Thursday in Triangle Park to kick off the summer reading program.