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Santa Claus Visits Leath Memorial Library; Organization Uses Event to Boost Youngsters’ Interest in Reading

Santa meets with one of his 200 guests during Monday's visit to Leath Memorial Library in Rockingham.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Pierce.

ROCKINGHAM – Santa Clause has made his first of many stops around Richmond County this holiday season.

“What do you want for Christmas this year?” was a popular question asked at Leath Memorial Library in Rockingham Monday night, as children from all over the county stopped by to put in their Christmas requests to Santa.

The event, originally scheduled for 5 to 6:30 p.m., was a rousing success that outlasted its scheduled timeframe.  Over 200 children were in attendance, forming a line that extended into the library’s lobby for the majority of the evening.

For event organizer Debbie Knight, this success was even more than what she was hoping for.  As she explained, Santa’s annual visit to Leath Library typically occurs later in the month of December.  However, she and her team felt that by moving the event to earlier in the Christmas season, they may have a better turn out.  As evidenced by the more then 200 children who attend event, it would seem that Knight’s idea was right on track.

The free event hosted festive activities for children of all ages, including coloring pages, letters to Santa, and of course, the chance to talk one-on-one to the big man in red.  After sharing their secret, or not so secret, Christmas wishes with Old Saint Nick, parents and family members had the opportunity to take a few pictures of the moment on their own camera device.  

“I liked the candy and taking the picture with Santa,” exclaimed first grader Briley Webb.  But her favorite was, “writing a letter to Santa.”


Santa’s visit to the Leath Library is a part of an over decade long tradition in Rockingham.  And even though the years have flown by, the reason behind this tradition remains the same.

As explained by Knight, Santa’s visit to the library is all about making children happy and forming a relationship with the members of our community.

“We don’t just want to be a place where people come to check out books,” Knight explained.  “Libraries are becoming a community resource, and we want to be a part of that.”

Another successful addition to this year’s Santa event was the inclusion of the Richmond County Partnership for Children.  With a common focus on enhancing literacy, it comes as no surprise the two organizations have formed a strong partnership.

Made possible by recently obtained grant funding, representatives from the Partnership for Children were present to offer the gift of literacy to children ages zero through five.  By simply filling out a brief form, the Partnership for Children was able to register youngsters to receive one new book every month from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  The best part about this program is that it is entirely free; a concept that the Leath Library certainly stands behind.

To obtain more information about upcoming events and programs hosted by the Richmond County Public Library System, go to www.srls.libguides.com, or find them on Facebook.  To learn more about the Partnership for Children and their Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, visit their website, www.richmondsmartstart.org. 

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