Summer reading program celebrates the Fourth

Published 4:30 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
The Atmore Public Library's summer reading program, "Get a clue at your library," is coming to a close and participants not only had the opportunity to heighten their knowledge through reading this summer, they also showed their patriotic sides Friday morning with a Fourth of July parade.
Cathy McKinley, director of Atmore Public Library, said the parade was a success and is something the children look forward to during every summer reading program.
"The Fourth of July parade was a big success," McKinley said. "The children love parading down the streets with their musical instruments. They really get involved in the parade. We had bicycles and scooters decorated with red, white and blue. We are so thankful for the police department who escorted our parade and to the fire department who followed the parade."
Throughout the program the children are visited by special guests and McKinley said it is hard to decide which visitor is the most popular with the kids.
"Every year we feel that our Summer Reading Program is a success," McKinley said. "The children continue reading during the summer and they look forward to the programs we present. We had so many wonderful people volunteer for three of our programs and the children loved all of them, so it's hard to say that one was more enjoyable than the other. The children always like nature so they really enjoyed the program Shirley West presented and the nature program Jimmy Stiles of Southern Pine Electric presented."
McKinley said this year's attendance was more than the library has ever seen in the past.
"This year's attendance was greater than ever," she said. "The first program we had 99 children. Attendance has continued to be record breaking at the other programs. The lowest attendance has been 85."
The summer reading program this year consisted of two big contests the children could participate in. The first project was the "I Spy" contest where children created a collage of different items or magazine and newspaper cutouts. The second project is a story that starts with the phrase, "On a cold rainy night at the library." The children turned in their projects Friday after the Fourth of July parade.
"Several children participated in the "I Spy" contest and a few participated in the 'On a cold, rainy night at the library' story," McKinley said.
Friday will be the final summer reading date at the library and awards will be given to each child who has completed the program, as well as the child that read the most over the six-week period. The contest winners will also be announced.
"Friday is Awards Day," McKinley said. "Pizza Hut had provided coupons for a personal pan pizza to all the children who finished the program. All children who participated in the program will get a ribbon. We will take up the reading logs that each child got at the first program. The child that reads the most will receive the first place ribbon. We will announce the winners of the 'I Spy' and 'Story' contests also."
McKinley said reading is key for children and is especially helpful when they are at school.
"Reading is so important," McKinley said. "The saying, 'Learn to read; read to learn' is so true. If we can keep children interested in reading during the summer, they probably won't have trouble learning in school. They must have the desire and that's what we try to do, interest them in reading."
The Atmore Public Library has an excellent selection of children's books and Atmore children love to come in and check them out, McKinley said.
"A child loves to check out our books," she said. "Even the younger children ages 3 and above like to check out books on their own. They don't want mom or dad to check them out, they want to. We have such a wonderful selection of children's books now. We have received grants and contributions from the Friends of the Library to purchase new books. Our circulation the day of the first program was over 500. I would estimate that 80 percent of that number was children's books. We recently cataloged books donated from The Libri Foundation and presented those books to those who attended the first program. I looked at the display the other day and there were very few books left."
McKinley said she hopes the community enjoys coming to the Atmore Public Library, especially children, because it aids in their learning.
"The library should be the hub of the community," she said. "We want everyone to look forward to coming to the library. We have many children who come into the library regularly to access our children's software. Even though they are having fun, they are learning also. These programs increase a child's reading skills."
For more information on the Atmore Public Library, visit

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