Summer Reading Program comes to an end

The West Point Junior Auxiliary distributed goody bags to all the kids who had completed the Summer Reading Program at the Bryan Public Library.
Staff Writer

Thursday marked the end of another successful Summer Reading Program at the Bryan Public Library. The West Point Fire Department arrived and used the hoses to give the children a respite from the heat. The Oak Hill Academy Anchor Club and the Pilot Club of West Point brought refreshments of cookies and ice-pops.

The West Point Junior Auxiliary had been a huge help while the Summer Reading Program was ongoing and they were part of the end of the summer celebration by giving children goody bags.

"The Summer Reading Program is a very important part of our community," said Dawn Richardson, children's librarian of the BPL. "It exposes children to performance artists that they may never see under normal circumstances."

Richardson said coming to the library opens children's minds to reading and discovering new things. It gives them a different perspective on the world around them.

"I think we had a well-rounded program this year," Richardson said. "We had a teen program celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the publication of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone’. That was very successful and we have plans to incorporate more programs for the older kids."

Richardson said there were many more children checking out library books than usual.

"We had a girl in the Summer Reading Program who read 31 books this summer," Richardson said. "I was so proud of her. The program encourages children to keep reading during the summer. The library is the perfect place for children. We hope to instill the idea of reading for fun, reading to learn more about something they are interested in. Kids who read have a advantage of kids who don't."

The theme for the Summer Reading Program was "Build a Better World." Richardson said the Mississippi Department of Transportation's program was about recycling and not littering. She said this was the perfect tie-in to "Build a Better World."

"Next year's theme will be 'Libraries Rock,’” Richardson said. "That program will incorporate a lot of music for a change. We are looking forward to that."

The Bryan Public Library and all other libraries across the state have been dealing with extreme budget cuts, so the West Point Junior Auxiliary has been lending a helping hand during the Summer Reading Program.

"We are glad to be able to help," said Laura Stewart, president of the WPJA. "This is one of our favorite projects. We work with the library all during the year with the Summer Reading Program, and the Reading Is Fun Literacy Programs, Spring Into Reading and Fall in Love With Reading."

Stewart said almost the entire JA chapter is made up of working women. Many are teachers who have some free time during the summer to help with the SRP.

"Those of us who are teachers understand and appreciate what the library means to our community," Stewart said. "Everyone loves the Snake Man and he helps teach kids to be respectful of snakes. They have their place on the Earth, too. Keeping kids engaged and reading through the summer is a huge help when they return to class."

The Pilot Club of West Point has been a part of the SRP for more than 20 years, according to Judy Ashmore, PCWP treasurer.

"We are glad to be part of the Summer Reading Program every year,” Ashmore said. “We've been doing this for as long as I've been a Pilot."

Debra Cole of the PCWP said it was a good way to have the Oak Hill Academy Anchor Club involved as well.

"We enjoy being able to provide refreshments for the kids," Cole said. "We love being part of the end of summer celebration.”