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Summer reading kicks off

State’s annual library promotion initiative kicks off in Bethlehem

The New York State library system kicks off its summer reading initiative with a Capital District press conference featuring Bethlehem town and school officials at the Bethlehem Public Library on Thursday, May 10.

The New York State library system kicks off its summer reading initiative with a Capital District press conference featuring Bethlehem town and school officials at the Bethlehem Public Library on Thursday, May 10. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— In its continued effort to promote education outside of the classroom, the state has announced the beginning of this year’s summer reading initiative in libraries throughout New York.

Each year, the New York State Library system selects different themes to help promote summer reading amongst children and teens when school is in recess. At a Capital District kick-off event held on Thursday, May 10, at the Bethlehem Public Library in Delmar, state officials announced the themes for this year’s “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” program.

The state library system has asked children to “Dream Big — Read” this summer, while teens have been invited to “Own the Night.” The hope is to have 1.8 million children and teens visiting the state’s libraries during the summer season by 2017.

“I urge young people and their parents to commit themselves to summer reading,” said the state Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Jeffery Cannell. “It can have a very transformational power and it can become a lifetime obsession. Believe me, I know.”

The announcement was the first of five to be held around the state. The New York State Library funds the annual promotional materials while local libraries are asked to create their own programming and reading lists to accompany the theme.

Both state Sen. Neil Breslin and Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin attended the event to show their support of the summer reading program.

“I’m the son of a teacher,” said Breslin. “Back when I was growing up we didn’t have summer reading programs but I certainly had a mother who was very vigilant to make sure we participated in our own reading program. But that doesn’t cure society. That doesn’t cure the sons and daughters of a single working mom, and all types of different situations.”

He said this program can help instill a love of reading in children from all backgrounds.

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