The program has a record 1,008,484 participants last year, up from just 172,000 in 1999. This year, the program is introducing a new license plate available anywhere in New York State. The proceeds of the license plates will go towards the summer reading program.
"These programs encourage kids to develop a love of reading outside of what they are assigned in school", said Galef. "They also allow youngsters to explore the millions of volumes of books stored in our state public library system."
The new state program was unveiled on July 25 at the Ossining Public Library at the Mother Goose program for one to two-and-a-half year olds, and at the Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison. Galef hosted local children at the two events and presented the design for the new custom plates. She discussed the importance of good reading skills for children.
The new license plates are available for $43, with an annual renewal fee of $25. Personalized plates are also available for $68, with an annual renewal fee of $50. $25 of the annual fee from both options will be deposited to the "Love your Library" fund, which supports the New York State Library’s statewide Summer Reading Program.
The library plate features a design to the left of the plate number and includes the words "READ*LEARN*EXPLORE." It is available to anyone with a passenger or commercial vehicle in New York State.
Ossining Public Library Program Coordinator Jane Clark stated, "We want to encourage everyone to consider buying a license plate that reads ‘Love Your Library’; the proceeds of which will enhance the summer reading program. It will allow us to do more in the way of programming and encourage children and parents to get excited about reading."
Desmond-Fish Children’s Librarian Paulie Townson explained, "Youngsters read everyday for twenty minutes per day. After ten days, they are eligible for a small prize. This gives them the inspiration to keep up with their reading over the summer months."
The new license plates are the result of a new law written by Assemblywoman Galef and passed in the state legislature last year. "The tools that our children learn now will last a lifetime" remarked Galef. "The more they read, the more successful they will be as students later on in life."