Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ramón Valadez and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild held a joint press conference yesterday at the Pima County Public Library to officially kick off summer reading initiatives. Speakers included Pima County Public Library Executive Director Melinda Cervantes, Make Way for Books Executive Director Mary Jan Bancroft, and parent Jasper Begay, who brought his 6-year-old daughter, Leia.
Chairman Valadez (right) shared childhood memories about being excited to see the Bookmobile at the Safeway on 12th Avenue. “When I was a kid, my favorite spot in the old Main Library was the basement, of course, because that’s where all the science books were kept!”
Reading continues to play a role in the Chairman’s life today. One of his favorite recent memories was listening to the entire Harry Potter series in the car with his son. “The library has become more of a community hub,” he said. “It’s now a place where you can choose what kind of experience you want to have.”
Pima County Public Library’s Summer Reading 2013 program, which runs May 24 through July 20, has over 300 events for children, families, teens, and adults.
Mayor Rothschild launched the Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge, where people can create an online account to log the books that they or their children read this summer. “I know there are parents out there who are not looking forward to hearing these words from their kids this summer: ‘I’m bored.’ One of the best ways not to be bored is to lose yourself in a book.”
For the Make Way for Books Reading Road Trip Challenge from June 3 to June 7, parents and early childhood educators are encouraged to read aloud five books a day for five days to their children. “The more you read aloud to very young children, the better prepared they will be for kindergarten,” said Bancroft. “The most important thing is to have fun.”
Last year, Jasper Begay, his wife, and their daughter, Leia, created a video short called Cool Kids Read to show how Leia worked her way through her list of summer reading activities. The family has participated in summer reading for the last two years and shared the video on the library’s Facebook page last year. “We make the library part of our routine throughout the year, not just in the summer.”
Melinda Cervantes, the Library’s Executive Director, said, “We’re fortunate to have elected leaders, community leaders, and parents who are committed to reading, literacy, and learning. It’s important that everyone in our community has access to the resources that make this possible.”
About Pima County Public Library
The Pima County Public Library (PCPL), which is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, enriches lives and builds community through opportunities to learn, know, interact and grow. With 27 public libraries serving Tucson and the surrounding communities of Arivaca, Green Valley, Sahuarita, South Tucson, Ajo, Marana, Oro Valley and Catalina, PCPL provides a wide range of free services that contribute to the economic development of the community. For more information, visit www.library.pima.gov.