Library of The Chathams Summer Reading Club picnic took place at Memorial Park on August 15.

Staff members of the Youth Services Department at Library of The Chathams were busy since early spring preparing for the 2019 Summer Reading Club.  This year’s theme was A Universe of Stories.


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Advance registration took place at Fishawack Festival, as usual, where 104 children registered.  More children signed up after the program started at the end of June, for a total of 490 children, who reported 7,415 books that they read over the summer.  238 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.

Teens submitted 532 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.


157 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 2020, one winning design each month.


A wide array of exciting programs for children and teens were 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 Betty Castello, Margaret Nolan, Marybeth Ginsberg, Emily LaJeunesse, Stephanie Azzaro, Sarah Craggs, Beth McGookin 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, 2,685 people attended children’s and teen programs.  Chess for Kids, Coding for Kids, Super Science 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 140 people.  Eyes of the Wild showcased five wild animals in a highly entertaining and educational show, Animals Are Out of This World.  The children welcomed five animals, including an alligator and a wallaby, and learned a lot about their life and behavior.  To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, we had an astronomy program when children could look at the Moon through a telescope.  Among the hit teen programs, planned and implemented by Sarah Craggs, were Teen Space Movie Night and Galaxy Cake Pops.

Teen volunteers were a tremendous help to the library staff.  87 volunteers put in 1,175 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 15.  283 people attended the picnic hosted by Kiwanis Club of Chatham/Madison with the help of Kings Food Market of Chatham, with amusements sponsored by Friends of the Library of The Chathams.  Special honored guests included Summer Reading Club sponsors Woman’s Club of Chatham.