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Bookworms boost reading program

Amanda McBryde, Alyson Bryson and Nicholas Roberts listen to the story “Pigs in the Pantry” at their west Lincoln branch library.

Jenny Walling / LTN Photo

Since the school year ended, children in the western end of Lincoln County have made good use of their local library.
“Summer reading is fun reading,” said Wanda Hallman, a library aid at the western branch. “You don’t have to take tests. You can read anything you want to read, and you get prizes.”
Around 200 children are currently signed up for the summer reading program, which rewards participants each week with small prizes.
The west Lincoln library serves the highest percentage of children out of all libraries in the Gaston-Lincoln system. Approximately 75 percent of books checked out of the library are for children.
When west Lincoln residents were first requesting a library from the Board of Commissioners, they made sure to emphasize the needs of their kids.
“Their main reason for it was the children,” said Selina Keever, the branch supervisor.
The library sees a good number of children throughout the school year, and traffic picks up once school lets out.
“A lot of parents want to make reading an important part of the summer,” said Keever. “(Children) need a variety of things to do. No child should watch television all day.”

Alyson Bryson and Ben Baxter listen intently to the story being
read by Jane Schrum. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo

The library offers a number of free programs throughout the summer.
Kids have already seen Birdman Dave who brought in a macaw, owl and parakeet.
“He let the big macaw fly over their heads and around the room,” said Keever. “I think the parents were just as excited as the kids.”
On Monday children witnessed Mark Daniel, a magical story teller who had a disappearing rabbit.
“It thrilled them to death when finally a rabbit appeared,” said Keever.
On June 28, the library will present “How the West Was Fun,” which will include music, dancing and stories.
“Mr. Music” is coming on July 19 to offer music, drama and dance to all participants. This will be his second visit to the library.
“It was the most lively children’s program I’ve seen,” said Keever. “When it was over we had tongues hanging out.”
The library also offers a preschool program every Thursday. During the summer it welcomes students up to second grade.
“You can’t expect them to sit and read for an hour,” said Keever. “We always have stories. We always have songs. We always have some kind of crafts.”
Of course, most children spend their time at the library searching for their next book.
“I love reading,” said Erika Hamilton, a rising fourth-grader. “Every time someone looks at me, I’m always reading.”
Erika enjoys chapter books with characters her own age. Her brother, a rising first-grader, is far more interested in the libraries puzzles and books on trucks.
“It’s kind of fun looking at pictures,” said Dalton Hamilton.
Their stepmother is just glad the library keeps them out of the heat and away from boredom.
“They can sit here and stay busy and enjoy themselves and just have a good time,” said Cheri Hamilton.
by Sarah Grano

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