The Library of the Chathams Summer Reading Club picnic took place at Memorial Park on Thursday.

Staff members of the Youth Services Department at Library of the Chathams were busy since early spring preparing for the 2018 Summer Reading Club. This year’s theme was Libraries Rock!


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Advance registration took place at Fishawack Festival, as usual, where 102 children registered. More children signed up after the program started at the end of June, for a total of 551 children, who reported 8,920 books that they read over the summer. 279 readers read enough books to earn an invitation to the grand finale. Throughout the summer, children received hundreds of prizes, funded by a generous gift from the Woman’s Club of Chatham and Madison.

Teens submitted 242 book reviews. This year, as the year before, the teens were not limited to writing a summary of the book. They could create a photo essay, drawing or painting, video book trailer, compare a book to its movie version, or give a verbal report to a librarian. Some of the submissions have been shared on the library’s Facebook page. The grand prize for Teen Summer Reading, an iPad Mini, was also funded from the Woman’s Club gift.


154 bookmarks were submitted for the annual bookmark contest. The 12 winning bookmarks may be viewed at They will be printed and distributed at the library through 2019, one winning design each month.


A wide array of exciting programs for children was organized by Assistant Director Galina Natenzon and Youth Services Department Head Jaime Sabonya. Thanks in large part to the creativity, diligence and energy of Youth Services Department staff members Donna Pesci Landrigan, Sarah Craggs, Polly Bonasera, Beth Dick and Nico Corpuz-Nicolas, as well as volunteer Jimmy Lim, these programs attracted a large number of children.

From the June kickoff through the date of the finale, 3,015 people attended children’s and teen programs. Chess for Kids, Coding for Kids, Miss Polly’s craft programs, and Art Kids Academy classes were all filled to capacity. For younger audiences, Field Station: Dinosaurs brought its giant Tyrannosaurus Rex to the delight of a crowd of about 220 people. Eyes of the Wild showcased five wild animals in a highly entertaining and educational show, Animals Rock! The star of the show was a porcupine, who amused the audience with its funny antics. Among the hit teen programs, planned and implemented by Sarah Craggs, were 

Teen Scary Movie Night and Rock Candy Cupcakes. Teen volunteers were a tremendous help to the library staff. 96 volunteers put in 1,346.5 hours listening
to children’s book reports, setting up rooms and materials for the programs, and doing whatever was needed to make Summer Reading Club a success.

The grand finale of the summer was the Reading Club Picnic on August 16. 271 people attended the picnic hosted by Kiwanis Club of Chatham and Madison, with amusements sponsored by Friends of the Library of The Chathams. Special honored guests included Summer Reading Club sponsors Woman’s Club of Chatham and Friends of the Library of The Chathams.