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Kids to Get Free Books and Star Treatment at the New Orleans Public Library’s Summer Reading Kickoff Event

New Orleans—May 20, 2008—The New Orleans Public Library will kick off its summer reading program, “Be a Star--Read!,” with a festival  on Saturday, May 31 from 1-3 p.m., offering children free books, fun activities, music, and guest appearances by celebrity mascots, Clifford the Big Red Dog®, and Riffington, the furry mascot of the children’s literacy nonprofit, Reading Is Fundamental (RIF).

Children attending the festival, held at the main library at 219 Loyola Avenue, can select a free book to read and own thanks to donations by Reading Is Fundamental, Scholastic, Target, and PTA. As part of their 2007 Scholastic Summer Reading BUZZ™!,Scholastic and Target donated one book to RIF for every four books logged on to the contest website. RIF and PTA have also teamed up to provide free books to children in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region through their Books for the Bayou program. Together, these two initiatives will provide more than 35,000 free books to children in New Orleans over the coming year.

“This year’s Hollywood-themed kickoff event is a great way to get kids excited about summer reading,” said Donna Schremser, city librarian, New Orleans Public Library. “It is important for parents to encourage children to read during the summer to help kids retain what they learned during the school year.”

The New Orleans Public Library hopes 4,000 children will participate in this year’s summer reading program, which is being supported by Shell Exploration and Production Company. Children who participate can earn a certificate and win prizes for reading books. All of the city’s branch libraries are participating and will offer children free books during the summer, courtesy of RIF, the nation’s largest and oldest children and families’ literacy organization.

The kickoff event includes the following free and fun activities for children:

Free book selection via the children’s bookmobile
Free “littlest stars” sunglasses
Face painting
Entertainment by Soul Heirs
Performances by Jo Jo the Clown 
Free ice cream and cake
Attendees can park at the Holiday Inn on Loyola Avenue at a reduced rate.
 
Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.6 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. For more information and to access reading resources, visit RIF’s website at www.rif.org.

Discover the Joy!

 
Layla Wright-Contreras,
Media Relations Manager
202-536-3528

 

Kids to Get Free Books and Star Treatment at the New Orleans Public Library’s Summer Reading Kickoff Event