Amsterdam library kicks off summer reading after fire

July 24, 2017 06:39 PM

AMSTERDAM -- 3-year-old Emily joined her 5-year-old sister Ella for some fun in the library.

Ella, who was wearing a cape she had just made at the library, says she likes reading. 

"'The Old Lady Swallowed a Fly,'" she said. "She burped so hard that all of them came flying out."

Their mother, Jenny Galough, has them in the library's summer reading programs every year.

"They've implemented a STEM program for the kids on Mondays and Thursdays.  And my girls completed the program before they went to PreK, knew their colors, their numbers, anything that you could imagine.  They're awesome with their programming here at the library, and that's why we're a part of it," she said.

Children of all ages got a story from the New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.

"The whole idea of making sure that our K-12 and even earlier, our early grade children, but our 0-5 children have access to a library and books and have people that care about them learning to read, the
excitement of that in the summer is what keeps kids moving," said Commissioner Elia.

This summer program started late this year because of a fire in June.  An aerial lift in flames crashed into the front of the building in the dead of night.

The children's space upstairs had to be shut down.

Now they've carved out a new space for the kids to create, read, learn, and engage.

Hundreds of little ones register for the free programs that go on twice a day, every day, in Amsterdam.

Last year, statewide, 2.1 million kids were involved in summer reading programs.

The Amsterdam Free Library had to be closed for three days after the fire, but these children don't have to wait any longer to dive into their activities.

"My son woke up this morning and the first thing he said when he opened his eyes was, 'The library today!'  The anticipation was kind of nice, too," said Jamie Carmichael of Amsterdam.

"We've been coming here since my son was two years old, and now I have a third child who's two years old.  I just got her library card today.  And it's great because it's free, kids get to participate with other kids in the community, and it encourages them to take out books, which I love."

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