WEST ORANGE, NJ — Local youth signed up for the summer reading program at the West Orange Public Library Summer Reading Kickoff Party on Monday, where families were entertained by a kids DJ, balloon artist, face painting and more. Staff from the Turtle Back Zoo gave away an Individual +1 membership to one lucky family during the event.

“This year, libraries rock, and summer reading is always a great thing to be involved in,” said library director Dave Cubie. “It emphasizes the fun of literature and the importance of reading throughout the year and for the rest of your life.”

The West Orange library’s "Libraries Rock!" Summer Reading Program officially began earlier this month, when the staff teamed up with Field Station: Dinosaurs, a family attraction that combines cutting-edge science with the creative minds of great artists and teachers, for an event that encouraged kids to keep reading over their summer break. The event included a visit from the Dinosaur Troubadour, who got kids singing and dancing along to original songs about dinosaurs, and a surprise guest visit from a 15-foot Tyrannosaurus rex.

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“This is a program that goes on every summer that promotes literacy for all the kids in the town,” said Faith Boyle, head of youth services at the library. “I hope they keep it up for many years.”

This was the seventh consecutive year that Field Station: Dinosaurs has teamed up with New Jersey’s summer reading program.

“It was during my summers right here in New Jersey that books from my local library helped me develop a love of dinosaurs that has stayed with me my entire life,” said Guy Gsell, executive producer of Field Station: Dinosaurs. “Being part of the annual summer reading program is always an important and fun way for us to connect with many different communities, and our library tour will hopefully inspire children to seek out their own favorite books at their local libraries all summer long.”

Lisa Touzeau, vice president of the West Orange library board, said the board’s mission is to make reading fun through its children’s programs. She also expressed the board’s gratitude toward the family for that made the program possible through a large contribution.

“I always love to come back to the summer programs,” said Mayor Robert Parisi. “My kids, who are older now, have great memories here and spent a lot of time at the library. I’m always happy to see that these programs are continuing and providing this type of atmosphere for our kids.”

Sign up for the summer reading program by clicking HERE.

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