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Bucks County libraries set 2014 summer reading program

Barbara Beans, Fleet Group manager for Fred Beans, gets her wish to volunteer at the Bucks County Library. She reads 'Mouse Paint' to the youngsters at a Doylestown branch story time this fall.

Even though winter is hard on our heels – the flurries last week were thrilling, weren’t they? – doesn’t mean we can’t look ahead to next summer. Especially when we’ve just learned what the Bucks County Library system is planning for the hot months of 2014.

Fizz, Boom, Read! is the name, folks, and maintaining children’s reading skills across the summer break is the game! Expect a lot of exciting activities along this theme – details will be available at your local library in the spring.

As you know, cuts in government funding several years ago meant the library could no longer afford to produce its popular summer reading program. It was a blow for the many communities that these 18 libraries serve. Parents, educators and the library staff realize the important role the program plays in keeping kids’ reading skills up-to-speed so they can start school in the fall at the same level – or higher – as they’d achieved when school closed in June.

So, in 2012 the Fred Beans Automotive Group pledged a two-year, $100,000 grant through the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. The library used each year’s $50,000 allotment to re-establish its popular summer reading program.

And in recent weeks, Bucks County Library and Fred Beans were approved for another two-year, $100,000 EITC grant, ensuring two more summers of great programming for young people and their families.

“The library would not be able to move ahead with this key program without the strong support of the Beans organization,” states Martina Kominiarek, executive director. “Research shows that children will lose gains they’ve made in reading during the school year if they don’t read in the summer. And it can take up to four months to return to the same reading level achieved by the end of the previous school year.”

“The library summer program is fundamental in contributing to children’s literacy skills,” says Roberta Yakovich, District Youth Services Consultant.

More than 44,000 youth and adults attended this summer’s Dig Into Reading program activities at seven county branches and 11 township and community libraries.