Library readers take a ‘Voyage to Book Island’

| July 2, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photos by
Spc. James Kennedy Benjamin
305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Holden Thomas, 4, son of 1st Lt. John Thomas, blows a bubble from inside the bubble he is standing in during a “Voyage to Book Island” event, June 23.SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Service members and their families took part in the second of five scheduled entertainment events, as a part of the Summer Reading Program at the Sgt. Yano Library, here, June 23.

This year’s theme for the five-week program, which started June 7, is “Voyage to Book Island,” and encourages children of all ages to read, even when they are out of school. 

“The purpose of the program is to encourage literacy and to keep the kids busy by reading,” said Bonnie Dong, supervisory librarian at Sgt. Yano. “Even though they are on summer vacation, they will continue to read. 

“Last week, we had Ronald McDonald come to the library to speak to the children,” she said. “He talked about using the library and encouraged children to read.”

The second week’s event had families watching a one-hour  bubble show performance by Karen Force. 

“We have had the bubble show for several years now,” Dong said. “The families really enjoy it.”

Vanessa Waineokai, a military wife and a mother to five children: Akamu, 15; Leilani, 13; Lopaka, 11; Mahea, 9; and Makaio, 1; participated in the event. 

“It’s a really good program,” Waineokai said. “All my kids are enrolled in the program. It encourages them to read more during the summer.

“When Lopaka heard we were going to the library today to watch the bubble show, he ran to the room and started reading his book,” she said.

The library has specific reading programs for all ages, but that wasn’t always the case. When the Summer Reading Program first started, it only focused on elementary school-age children from ages 6 to 12. 

After several years, parents started asking about the younger children. 

“That is how we started with the ‘Read To Me’ program,” Dong said. “Read to Me is for children ages 5 and below.”

“A few years ago we started the ‘Teen Summer Reading Club,’” said Janet Howard, a public services librarian at Sgt. Yano. “It was a way to reach out toward the teens.” 

Last year was the first year the library started the “Adult Summer Reading Club.” 

“This year, we have 226 children enrolled in the Read To Me program, and we have 322 children enrolled in the elementary level ‘School Age’ program, 83 teens and 139 adults.” Howard said. 

Not only does the Summer Reading Program offer free entertainment, it also awards participants for reading.

“Enrollees in the four, age-specific programs have to read at least one book a week to claim their incentive award,” Dong said.

The program operates on funds donated by various organizations. Hui O Na Wahine, a women’s non-profit organization made up of military spouses, has been a major contributor to the program for the past several years and donated approximately $3,000 to the program this year.

The program has also received approximately $10,000 in support from the Department of Defense through the program Libraries Inspire Military Children to Read, to purchase incentive rewards for the participants.

“Our library was one of approximately 250 libraries worldwide that received funding from this program,” Dong said.

“Plus, this year we are partnering with the Leilehua school district and the Department of Education,” Howard said. “Our kids can take their book logs back to their pubic schools in the fall, and they get more prizes.” 

It took several months to prepare for the Summer Reading Program and coordinate with all the agencies.

“We have been meeting since January to prepare for the program,” Dong said. “We get together to decide on what theme we want to pick. With that theme, we decide on what type of incentive prizes or rewards we want to give to the children.”

All the preparation has paid off, as the number of participants grows each year.

“Every year we continue to expand,” Dong said. “Next year we look forward to getting more participants and having another great program.”

Category: Community

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