"Where are all the butterflies?" That question appeared in a recent Star-Ledger article on gardening, but believe it or not, that question applies to the wonderful children who appeared in the Summer Reading Program held this summer at the Jersey City Free Public Library.
The 2008 summer reading theme, Catch the Reading Bug for children in grades K-5, and Metamorphosis, for young adults in grades 6-8, echoed the butterfly question. "Reading!" Answers the question. The yearly themes are established by the CSLP - Collaborative Summer Library Program, a grassroots consortium of states working together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children at the lowest cost possible for their public libraries. The Jersey City Free Public Library, having begun its Summer Reading Program over 30 years ago, created its own themes prior to joining with the nationwide CSLP effort.
There is something truly transformative going on when Jersey City children participate in the library Summer Reading Program as 'book worms', then develop into beautiful 'butterfly readers'! Each summer, children participate in the SRP throughout the Main Library, 11 branches and the Bookmobile, which brings the Summer Reading Program to children without access to nearby neighborhood branches.
Last year, 569 children participated in the 2007 Summer Reading Program, reading a total of 16,442 books! Assistant Library Director Sonia Araujo served as coordinator in 2007.
This year, 625 children participated, with a total of 23,192 books read during the 2008 Summer Reading Program.
On August 15th the 2008 Summer Reading Program held within the Jersey City library system ended, but that in no way means that our 'butterflies' have ended their flight. In fact, children who continue reading over the summer are more prepared for school in September, ready to soar!
In that Star-Ledger 8/14/08 article, Jane Hurwitz, director of the North American Butterfly Association, was quoted as saying, "There's nothing wrong with having an agenda when you plan and plant - and having butterflies fluttering all around while you garden lends a certain enchantment to the whole enterprise."
And there's nothing wrong with having a structured program when you plan on encouraging children and young adults to keep on reading - that's planting an idea in fertile land, for the reader-butterflies to enchant and be enchanted.
We are indebted to our supporters for helping the Jersey City Free Public Library provide reading, crafts, games, performances, field trips, movies, camaraderie, and much more, to our beloved children during the summer.
On behalf of the Library Director and the Library Board of Trustees, much gratitude belongs to the Educational Arts Team, which joyfully opened its collective arms again to library SRP Readers for their use of Camp Liberty. Many thanks go to Jersey City Councilman At Large Peter Brennan, who always attends most library functions, for his donation to the 2008 Summer Reading Program, and above all, very special thanks go to HSBC Bank, for its generous donation of $5,000 that made the many field trips possible over the duration of this year's Summer Reading Program.
Coordinator, SRP 2008