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Oakhurst Library celebrates voracious readers

Winners in the age group up to fourth grade were back row from left, Aiden Pollock and Desmond Dent, front row from left, Fox Morley, Sophia Pollock and Wyatt Nelson. Winner not present was Ryder Nelson. All these readers placed in first, second or third place.
Winners in the age group up to fourth grade were back row from left, Aiden Pollock and Desmond Dent, front row from left, Fox Morley, Sophia Pollock and Wyatt Nelson. Winner not present was Ryder Nelson. All these readers placed in first, second or third place. Sierra Star

It was a flurry of tiny-but-mighty foot stomping with spurts of thunderous cheering during the Oakhurst Library’s Read by Design finale last week. The event kicked off with a photo montage of young readers, created by library staff Leilani Cummings. Then came the moment of truth - the moment the 311 registered readers had been diligently working towards these past seven weeks - the winning readers’ names and minutes.

In first place were: Ryder Nelson with 7,090 minutes (pre-K - first grade); Wyatt Nelson with 7,770 minutes (second - fourth grade); Talon Nelson with 7,190 minutes (fifth and sixth grades); and Kim Pounds with 13,560 minutes (seventh - twelfth grades). These readers won gift cards from area businesses, shops and restaurants.

Each time a reading log was turned in, the child received a free book donated by Sierra Tel, along with a coupon from fast foods or other area businesses.

A total of 346,167 reading minutes (5,769.5 hours) were logged. Average attendance for the children’s program was 200 weekly, with average attendance for the teen program at 51.

“I’m so excited to see the results of this year’s Summer Reading Program. Not only was attendance up, but children and teens were reading more than they were last year,” Oakhurst Library Manager Dale Rushing said. “Each year we try to gather information via questionnaires from parents and participants to ask how we can improve the following year ... and then we make adjustments to our program.”

Rushing emphasized this wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the sponsors and donors. Using funding donated by gold and platinum sponsors, Rushing was able to purchase special prizes for the four lucky winners whose names were drawn.

Grand prize winners of the bikes were first-grader Emmit Vaughn and fourth-grader Lydia Avent. iPod winners were fifth-grader Jeremy Guadagnini and ninth-grader Clayton Wallen.

This is the first year Elizabeth Rowan and her grandson Shadon Gregoire, 6, have participated in the program.

“I see a real change from when Shadon started to now,” Rowan said. “He’s become really excited about reading, and when he’s at my house, he’ll ask me, ‘can we do my reading?’”

Because the first book he read was about dinosaurs, Gregoire is hooked on anything to do with dinosaurs, along with his all-time favorite - all books penguin-related.

Forty-three businesses donated to this year’s program. Platinum donors were Friends of the Oakhurst Branch Library (FOBL), Sierra Tel, Golden 1, Round Table, Jack in the Box, Pizza Factory, and Kiwanis. Gold donors included Yosemite Bank, Bodys by Boyd, Me ‘n Eds, Oakhurst Sierra Rotary, Yosemite Brokerage, and Judy’s Donuts.

The donors gave up to $199 each in gifts, certificates or monetarily for the summer reader program.

“I want to thank the volunteers, library staff, sponsors and families who joined in to encourage children and teens to have fun reading through the summer,” Rushing added. “I’m honored to be a part of this community - a community that gives of themselves to help others.”

Friends of the Oakhurst Branch Library (FOBL)

FOBL President Candace Flammang explained that they have been in operation for 40 years, putting in 1,500 volunteer hours annually to provide the library with new titles for children, teens, young adults and adults.

Materials, DVDs, audio books, and supplies are provided by monies raised through multiple book sales and gifted donations.

The next FOBL book sale is 9 a.m. 2- p.m., Aug. 5, with children’s books priced at 50 cents and other books at $1. The collectible book sale will be held 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Aug. 19, with books priced at $2 and up, children’s books at $1 and up.

Details: www.oakhurstfobl.com.

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