HAMLET — The Summer Reading Program sponsored by the Richmond County Public libraries is giving children the opportunity to soar through the gift of books and presentations, along with ideas to build a better world.
Every Wednesday at the Cole Auditorium in Hamlet starting at 10 a.m., anyone is welcome to participate in this thoughtful program through the Hamlet and Rockingham public libraries, that focuses on values and education. This Wednesday, the theme was “I Believe I Can Fly.” Special guests included Belle the Macaw and of course her owner, Birdman Dave. The look of delight on the faces of the many children and adults alike was refreshing, as if everyone in the room was the same age enjoying something remarkable for the first time. However, it was not just a time of entertainment, but also an opportunity to learn something new. Did you know that the parrot uses only about ten of its feathers to fly and if you clip them they would be grounded forever? Birdman Dave taught the kids all kinds of fun facts about birds and even had them practice their observation skills when Belle took flight.
Belle put on quite a show for the kids, a story they tell others for years to come. Eight-year-old Joshua McLean, a participant in the Summer Food program at the Diane Smith Learning Center in South Hamlet, was lucky enough to be a volunteer and get an up close and personal look at Belle and the food she eats.
“It was weird. I was afraid she would bite me.I learned that you can get parrots to talk and to copy you and that they can be your friends,” Mclean said.
The outreach of the library extends beyond the Summer Reading Program. Around the start of the school year, the library gives students book-bags whenever you visit and check out a book. Inside the book-bags is the gift of a book for students to start their own libraries at home.
“The goal is that kids bring the book-bags back and fill them up with books,” said Debbie Knight, Events Coordinator for Leath Memorial.
The Summer Reading program hosts over 100 youth every week and invites more to come. Debbie, who has been involved for more than 20 years, encourages others to join.
The success of the library and its Summer Reading Program is due to the many sponsorships and partnerships throughout the county. The Cole Auditorium offers the program rooms to host its events at no cost and local restaurants such as Subway, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell have all given coupons for the youth participants to come and enjoy a free treat. Participants come from various summer food programs, parks and recreations, churches, daycares and health facilities throughout the cities of Hamlet and Rockingham.
Kemp Library in Ellerbe also offers a Summer Reading Program every Monday at 10 a.m. The Summer Reading Program began in June and will run until the end of July. Each library will have a culminating event next month. Hamlet will host its grand finale on Aug.11, 2017 in a Super Soaker Fund Day. Ellerbe’s “Cold Blooded Encounters” will be held the first Wednesday in the month, where you can expect various reptilian friends. The Leath Memorial Library of Rockingham will host a “Solar Eclipse Day” on the Lawn later that month, in which the participants will receive a pair of solar glasses to enjoy the eclipse. Reading is the gift that truly keeps on giving, in fact, it gives you wings!