New York has more than 7,000 public, school, academic, research, government and special libraries, along with many library systems. All the facilities have personnel who keep them running, stocked and in good working order. About 75 percent of New York households are members of their local libraries.
Too often we forget how important these institutions and their staffs are to our communities, especially when we consider that most information is at our fingertips via the Internet.
While the Internet is a great way to quickly gather information, there is nothing more rewarding than sitting down with a good book Ė whether to learn or for pleasure. Books today are more expensive than ever, and our libraries play an important part in getting them into everyone’s hands.
My fifth annual Summer Reading Challenge is taking place now. There are few things more important that I can think of than teaching and encouraging children to read, and help them develop a love for reading. The Summer Reading Challenge is a tool to help school administrators and parents teach their students and children that it is productive and fun to read.
Inside the Summer Reading Challenge brochure, available at local schools or by contacting me, children mark each day in July and August when they read together with an adult or guardian. When 40 or more days are marked, the child earns a New York State Assembly Excellence in Reading Certificate. To receive the certificate, participants fill out the back portion of the brochure, return it and the marked calendar to my office, and my staff and I will ensure each child receives a certificate.
Our librarians and other library staffers are instrumental in the program’s success because they ensure our children have books to read and are always available to help youngsters choose books they’ll enjoy.
I will continue to support our libraries and their staffs, and I encourage all community members to do the same. Without qualified, well-trained library staffs, our future generations would miss out on many important experiences associated with reading. I’m not alone when I say "thank you" to everyone who works so hard for our libraries.