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Feting the summer readers at Peninsula Public Library

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Peninsula Public Library celebrated the children aged 4 to 13 who read 1,700 books during the summer reading program with a party in the Lawrence library’s community room on Aug. 15.

Roughly 60 parents and children attended the celebration that included the summer space travel theme and New Jersey-based magician and puppeteer Bob Conrad perform a space-themed magic show for the children. The theme changes each summer and is set by the Nassau County Library System. Conrad was wearing NASA gear and had the children laughing as he performed magic tricks with assistance from his extra terrestrial puppets, “E.C.” and “Purple People Eater.” 

The children tracked their summer reading progress by filling out reading logs. Zevi Fried, 6, contributed to the 1,700 mark by reading 10 books. He was a fan of Conrad’s performance. “I thought he was funny,” Fried said after having his photo taken in astronaut gear. 

In recent years, the program has rewarded the top readers in the program with prizes. This year, the total amount of books read among the readers was tracked. “We changed it up to make it more enjoyable for the kids,” PPL Director Carolynn Matulewicz said. “We don’t want it to be a competition, we just want the kids to enjoy reading.” She noted that the library’s summer reading program is roughly 25 years old. This year’s program included nearly 160 children. “Each summer, we see the children’s books flying off the shelves like crazy,” Matulewicz said. “It’s good to see that.”

Children’s librarians Katie Mirro, Grace Bazille and Antoinette Levine coordinated the party. Mirro, a PPL librarian for three years, said the process started at the beginning of the year. “We started organizing the event in January,” Mirro said. “It’s good to see it finally take place and I’m overwhelmed by the great turnout we got.” Mirro added that PPL has held 60 children’s programs since the end of June. “We’re just trying to promote our love of reading to the children,” she said.

Bazille joined PPL earlier this year and said it was great to meet the children’s families at the event. “You see the kids in the library throughout the summer, but it was great to see their family at tonight’s event,” she said. “I had parents coming up to me and thank me for my efforts which I thought was very nice.”

More information on PPL’s children’s programs can be found at https://www.peninsulapublic.org/.