The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Wyoming Branch was ironically anything but quiet. From the outside, it was possible to hear loud upbeat music coming from the basement, only making neighbors curious to see what the commotion was all about. As it turned out, the library, located at 231 E. Wyoming Ave., was celebrating the start of its annual Summer Reading Game.
The Summer Reading Game is a program that keeps children reading throughout the summer by rewarding them with prizes and fun activities. Over the summer period, children will earn points for each book they read out loud with a parent or the library staff. As a reward, they will receive a variety of different prizes ranging anywhere from books to free passes to the Penn Museum.
“I hope that this event will get the kids excited to participate in summer reading. We try to make programs here at the library fun in order to motivate the children,” said Ruth Gilbert, a children’s librarian.
The focal point of the event was Jazzy the Clown and her Hip-Hop Dancers. These were not your average clowns with painted faces and big red noses. The three dancing clowns had incredible talent with their hip-hop dance moves. Dressed in pajama shorts, high striped socks and matching air-brushed T-shirts, they quickly engaged the crowd into a energetic dance party. Jazzy Entertainment is a service that provides entertainment at parties and special events. The affiliation has a mission to spread positive energy to others with healthy psychical activities that everyone can participate in.
Jazzy Entertainment accommodated face-painting, balloons and free prizes. The clowns gave out a variety of treats such as brightly-colored silly bands to all the children. The clowns made the young audience feel involved by trying to make everyone in the crowd dance, even those who were watching from the outskirts of the room. It was impossible to stand in the room without so much as tapping a foot or catching a rythym to the contagious beats.
“I as a parent appreciate the library because they have special programs and activities that are positive and keep my children on the right track,” said Sylvia Langston. Langston brought her three children to the event and has been a regular library member for the past six years.
Gilbert shared that the library has many activities scheduled for the children who attend the library. On June 22, a magician is also scheduled to perform for anyone who wants to attend. In July, there will be a class that teaches attendees how to make paper.
Among many events, the library also has weekly workshops for everyone. The workshops teach those how to research on the Internet and become familiar with programs such as Word and Excel. “I send my two kids to the sessions every week. Sometimes, I even want to go so I could also learn how to use the programs on the computer myself,” Rob Johnson said.
By showing appreciation of library’s services, the Wyoming branch received the Customer Service Award in 2009 by the Free Library of Excellence. The Library Coordinator, Suzin Rigsby and her staff were recognized in appreciation of all their assistance to making the library a positive environement. The Wyoming Branch library plans to continue inspiring members of the community by teaching how to learn in positive ways and will welcome anyone who wishes to join.