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Library News


By: Pam Comello, Youth Services Librarian
For: Red Rock News
Date: August 13, 2009


Summer Reading and Youth Department News

It is hard to believe the month of August is here and school has begun for children in the area.  The “Make a Splash @ your Library” Summer Reading Program for kids and “Make Waves @ Your Library” Summer Program for teens ended this past week.  There were almost 500 students registered this summer with 138 students reporting their reading in the online program.  Over 1,000 hours of reading were reported this summer.

An awards party will be held at Sedona Public Library Saturday, August 14 for all summer reading participants, with refreshments and supplies donated by Weber’s IGA in the Village of Oak Creek and McDonalds of Sedona.  Summer participants will receive an award certificate of completion for hours read this summer and be able to select a free book and additional prizes.

Summer reading encourages reading to become a lifelong habit and it provides a way for reluctant readers to be drawn in by activities.  Research shows that reading over the summer helps children keep their skills up or at the grade level completed.  Skills gained during a school year can be lost by students who don’t read during the summer.  To be most effective for the student, summer reading is a guided process that includes the student, parent, teacher, the library and books! (ALA Library Fact Sheet 17).  This is the second year the Arizona Department of Libraries, Archives, and Records has provided a grant for Evanced Solutions, a Summer Reading Software program. Students were able to register and report this year’s summer reading program online through Sedona Public Library’s website. Registration and reporting in previous years was paper driven and done in person.

Thanks to Sedona-Oak Creek School District librarians Tana Williams at Big Park School, Cheryl Yeatts and Maggie Castillo-Cockrum from West Sedona School and Elaine Vail at Red Rock High School for partnering with us to help promote the reading program and encourage students to register online and participate. Thanks also to Daryl Lusher, Sedona Public Library Youth Assistant, for creating and producing Summer Reading Program promotional calendars listing over 50 events and programs available for youth of all ages.  Many thanks to our summer assistant Nancy McClay for helping us in so many ways but mostly with managing the summer reading program.  We appreciate the partnership and support we have with local school administrators, teachers and librarians encouraging students to read during the summer and participate in Library programs and activities.

In conclusion, a huge thank you must be given to the Friends of the Sedona Public Library. Without their generous support, none of the wonderful presentations, workshops and other programs offered during Sedona Public Library’s Summer Reading Program would have been possible or offered to youth of all ages this summer, most of which were free to all children in the community.

This will be my last column from Sedona Public Library. I am leaving my position as Head of Youth Services at Sedona Public Library to take a position in St. Louis, Missouri. 

I have enjoyed almost 12 years as Head of Youth Services at Sedona Public Library.  It was so much fun to expand the Children's Room from the small space it was in 1998 to more than double the size several years later.  Purchasing books for youth of all ages, from babies to teens, has allowed me to expand my knowledge of children's and young adult literature. Planning programs for students during the school year and providing each year's Summer Reading Program has brought me in touch with so many wonderful individuals from all over the U.S. with amazing talents and skills.  Training and working with our wonderful teen volunteers and recruiting new members for the SPL Teen Advisory Council continues to renew my faith in our youth and future leaders.  Conducting toddler and preschool story times at the library, and taking books to the classes and reading to the children as part of outreach to Sedona's Head Start have been a real highlight for me and have enabled me to really know so many people that make up the community of Sedona.

I am returning to a city where I lived for 25 years before moving to Sedona in 1998. My daughter and 4-year-old grandson relocated there just a little over a month ago. I have taken a job as school librarian at the pre-K through 6th grade private school where I taught kindergarten some 20 years ago and I still know 1/3 of the staff!  I am excited to be putting on my "teacher hat" again and to be able to live close to my daughter Elizabeth and to interact with and enjoy 4-year-old Tristan on a regular basis.

I have enjoyed my time at Sedona Public Library and working to help bring a love of literature to children and improve the lives of kids in Arizona. I hope to see friends and familiar faces again when I am back in Sedona and the area from time to time in the coming months and years.

Pam Comello
Pam Comello, author of this week's article,
is Youth Services Librarian of the Sedona Public Library.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News
and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.

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