Contributed by St. Bernard Parish Library
Summer is behind us and that means that the library will be closing the books on a very different summer reading program. The library registered over 1,000 summer readers of all ages despite the fact that this summer we had to share our stories still with a bit of distance to keep everyone safe. We were fortunate to be able to hold 12 in-house story programs without incident.
We also had wonderful performers who stepped up to make sure our readers didn’t miss out on one of the best things of summer reading — the shows! And, there’s another big part of summer reading that did not disappoint — our sponsors. Although we were not able to gather to celebrate the end of our program with our wildly popular Grand Finale Prize Drawing, our readers were still richly rewarded.
McDonald’s of St. Bernard generously donated over 1,000 coupons ranging from Happy Meals, to McCafe Beverages for each person who stopped by the library to pick up a Grab and Go registration bag. McDonald’s of St. Bernard is the library’s oldest sponsor supporting readers for well over 20 years and counting. If we were to tally the value of meals that our McDonald’s has donated to our library over the past two decades, it would surely add up in the tens of thousands. Our library owes a huge debt of gratitude to Alan and Kathleen Galdamez, our McDonald’s community liaisons, for their unwavering support of our program.
While we are giving thanks for the good things of summer reading, we would be remiss not to give a shout out to our local Raising Cane’s. Their bookmarks enticing our grade school participants to read seven books went into 501 bags! That’s a lot of chicken fingers and special Cane’s sauce. It is heartwarming to see the bookmarks come back to the library again and again for staff to mark off the paw prints for the books our readers have enjoyed. Summer reading never tasted so good, and we are proud to say that our Chalmette Cane’s has been a sponsor of our readers ever since they first opened in 2012.
The St. Bernard Parish Library is very fortunate to have so many dedicated sponsors who place such a high value on reading for all ages. With 11 sponsors, each bringing something special to our library families, we never have to worry about our readers being amply rewarded. Our virtual programming was enriched by an original video introducing summer viewers to Stream in Art presented by local author Laura Breksa; Coffee House’s treat to a free drink brought smiles to 100 adult and tween/teen readers; Kelly Gonzales of Facials by Skin Diva took us on a behind the scenes tour of her workplace; Donna Torres of the Infinity Science Center shared an amazing virtual story time about the Apollo 11 mission; Samantha Perez of the Japanese Society of New Orleans took readers to Japan with her video tour and stories; Jared Kattengell, a local blacksmith introduced us to the art of metalwork; New Orleans Opera-Education allowed us to experience several opera pieces while wearing our shorts and flip flops; and Chief Stone of the St. Bernard Parish Fire Department made sure summer readers did not miss his annual reading of his favorite fire truck story by sharing a virtual reading with our library.
There can be no doubt that our community’s business leaders place a high value on both the readers of our parish and our library. The generosity shown to the St. Bernard Parish Library gives testimony to their dedication. We encourage all of our library families to return the support whenever possible by frequenting our sponsor businesses whenever possible.
A final thank you goes to some very special people. St. Bernard’s own Arlette and Wayne Nunez began donating to our children’s programming several years ago. Their donation comes with matching funds through a Shell Oil initiative. Their annual gift goes a long way in helping the library to bring award winning performers that play such a big part in our annual event. Our last group we would like to thank are the families who took part in our hybrid summer reading program. You are the reason for the program. Our library is forever indebted to strong community-minded sponsors and to our families. You all make our library a great place to gather, to learn, to read, to watch, to enjoy.