MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. - Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced the successful completion of the Mercer County Library System 2011 Summer Reading Program, a wonderful opportunity that brings families together over a shared love of books. More than 4,848 children between all nine Mercer County Library branches participated in the program this summer. Together, they read 85,910 books, a testament to the growing interest in the Summer Reading Program for the youth of Mercer County.

“Fostering a love of books encourages young people to be imaginative, articulate, and inquisitive for the rest of their lives,” Hughes said. “By sustaining an active engagement in learning throughout the summer months, students develop positive associations between learning, fun, and achieving personal goals. The success of this program reflects well on our citizens, and I am proud that Mercer County is host to so many strong library users and happy, well-read kids.”

This year, the Mercer County Library System offered 684 enrichment programs through the overall reading program at the eight participating libraries. The library system hosted two Summer Reading Programs from June 27 through August 12. One World, Many Stories, emphasized reading to younger patrons through age 11, and You are Here! was geared toward teens. In June, each branch hosted a kick-off party, many of which had over 100 guests. A contributor to the success of the program was the distribution of reading logs for children to keep track of their summer reading. Incentive prizes were also awarded on a weekly basis to those who returned to the library and reported the number of books they read. The Summer Reading Program also featured many free exciting educational opportunities, including magic shows, concerts, theater workshops, jugglers, science labs, storytelling, tea parties, petting zoos, musicians, family fairs, and the Library Garden at the West Windsor Branch, among many others.

The program also has teen volunteers, who are vital to the success of the project.   This summer, the Library System was able to provide 313 teenagers with more than 3,344 hours of volunteer experience.

“I am proud that the Mercer County government can serve our community through the 2011 Summer Reading Program,” Hughes continued. “It is vital that education reach beyond the classroom, and that the young people of Mercer County experience the joy of pursuing knowledge and literacy.  In so doing, they develop a genuine passion for learning both independently and in school.  This program has helped set many children on a path towards academic success and lifelong joy in reading.”

These wonderful opportunities do not end with the season.  The Mercer County Library System will offer regularly scheduled story, craft, and musical program sessions in September.  Please contact your local branch for details, or log onto the library website, www.mcl.org, for a complete listing of children’s and adult programs.