Read and grow @ your libraryTM: New Jersey Launches statewide summer reading program

Contact: Deborah Davis
312-280-2148
dedavis@ala.org

For Immediate Release
July 31, 2002

Read and grow @ your library™: New Jersey Launches statewide summer reading program

Governor Jim McGreevey to support read and grow @ your library™

A whole lot of reading is going on in New Jersey's public libraries this summer. Co-sponsored by the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA), the New Jersey State Library, the New Jersey Secretary of State's Office, and Cablevision, 312 public libraries across the state are participating in a statewide summer reading program - "read and grow @ your library™" - that has captured the interest of New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey.

McGreevey has recorded public service announcements to show support for the program. In the public service announcements (PSA's), McGreevey points out that New Jersey's public libraries have many fun and innovative programs designed to make reading a year-round passion. He urges parents to help their children "read and grow" by registering for summer reading programs at their local public libraries. The public service announcements, which feature four young library patrons, are airing on cable systems throughout the state. The governor's office also is arranging to distribute the announcements to broadcast outlets in New York and Philadelphia, the nation's first and fourth largest media markets, respectively.

Following the taping of the announcement at Princeton Public Library, Princeton Public Library Director Leslie Burger and New Jersey Library Association Director Pat Tumulty presented McGreevey with one of the "read and grow @ your libraryä" banners that have been distributed to all of the state's public libraries. McGreevey was so enthusiastic about the banner that it now hangs on the front door of the governor's office at the State House in Trenton. According to the governor's office, McGreevey also will visit New Jersey libraries throughout the summer to participate in summer reading programs.

Other developments in the pipeline include a plan by The New Jersey Library Association to partner with McGreevey to help in selecting books for his recently launched book program, "The Governor's Reading Club." The Club features recommended books for children in kindergarten through third grade.

Burger spearheaded the "read and grow @ your library" program and enlisted the help of McGreevey in promoting summer reading.

The "read and grow @ your library" program hopes to draw attention to research indicating that children who read during the summer are better prepared to learn when school resumes than their classmates who don't read year-round.

"These programs aren't just about reading and academic achievement," said Burger. "While it's true that research and anecdotal evidence point to the fact that kids who read during the summer are much better equipped to learn when school reopens, what these programs are about is fun and community."

"Libraries and librarians throughout the state have a wealth of activities planned for young readers and they'll always be there to offer suggestions for summer reading," Burger continued. "Many of our libraries also have clubs and book discussion groups for teens and adults, so we hope that when adults bring their children to register for a summer reading club, they stick around and see what their library has to offer."

As participants in "read and grow @ your library," public libraries received a big, colorful nylon banner and bookmarks to promote the program, along with a sample press release to send to their local media. The materials avoid using the word "summer," so that libraries can continue the "read and grow @ your library" program year-round.

Libraries across the state now are flying their "read and grow" banners as they showcase various individually designed reading programs and special events.

The Princeton Public Library is offering "Around the Library in 60 Days" for pre-school through grade 5 children. Children will be encouraged to try reading or listening to various types of books found in the library, from mysteries to myths, from histories to sports, from animals to science fiction, and more. Readers and listeners may earn stickers, bookmarks, an ice cream sundae and a "Star Reader" embroidered patch.

The East Brunswick Public Library has a roster of exciting children's programs, including: The I Spy Reading club, mysteries for children in pre-kindergarten through grade 5; Mother Goose Magic, stories and songs for children ages 2 and up with adults; Merry Movies and More, short films and stories for children ages 2 and up with adults; Divas and Boy Bands Reading Club for young adults in grades 6 and up, and much more.

This summer's reading program in New Jersey is a forerunner of a program in summer 2003 when all public libraries in New Jersey will participate in a single-themed summer reading program. The State Library and NJLA are at work on plans for the 2003 program, which will be announced in fall 2002.

"Read and grow @ your library" is part of the @ your library campaign which New Jersey's libraries have chosen as the focus of a statewide marketing initiative. The goal of the initiative is to create awareness of services offered by New Jersey's libraries, to increase support for their programs and to recruit more librarians to the profession. @ your library, The Campaign for America's Libraries, is a multi-year public education campaign launched by the American Library Association to speak loudly and clearly about the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century.

Founding partners of The Campaign for America's Libraries include 3M Library Systems, the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Major League Baseball, Morningstar Foods Inc., maker of Hershey®'s Milk, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and Woman's Day Magazine.