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Ennis Daily News

Library program’s popularity swells

I started at this job in May 2005. In that time I have seen plenty of changes made to the Ennis landscape. East Ennis Avenue was in the middle of being widened when I got here. Sonic moved a block down the street. Corporations like National Envelope and Alliance Data located in Ennis’ Industrial Park. A new hospital and junior high school were erected.
Those are only a few of the cosmetic changes to the town. I could spend a thousand words on what modifications have been made as a part of progress.
One of the things though that has stayed the exact same — which couldn’t be better in my humble opinion — is the high energy and quality with which the summer reading program is run. Each year I make my way to the Ennis Public Library with a good idea of what to expect: a large crowd of kids packed tight in the learning center room, parents and infants lining the walls shoulder to shoulder, a magician, singer, acting troupe or storyteller of some sort that works well in front of a young crowd and plenty of screams and/or laughs for 90 minutes straight.
The ladies who mastermind the summer reading program each year put in a lot of effort to make sure the kids are entertained, but also educated about different topics. This year’s theme, “Libraries: Deep in the Heart of Texas,” is interesting because almost every program focuses on books and the great state of Texas. Who isn’t going to love that combination?
Take for example the visit of Zooniversity during the first week of the program. Because Zooniversity Owner and Head Zookeeper Allison Blankenship focused on animals native to Texas, I was able to see a creature up close that I never in my wildest dreams would have thought could be so splendid. I am speaking of the porcupine.
I know, you hear the word porcupine and automatically think, “Oh! How horrible!” Well please let me tell you, it was the exact opposite.
I was like you before seeing the creature, thinking that a rodent with spikes on its body could be nothing but gross looking. However, when she brought Teddy Bear out, which was the porcupine’s name, it wasn’t the disgusting, thorny-looking monster I was expecting. Instead it actually looked fluffy and cute.
If a 28-year-old guy can be wowed by that kind of thing, just imagine how much in awe the elementary kids were.
Now, to say the summer reading program is the exact same year in and year out wouldn’t be quite fair. Although some of the programs are repeated from year to year, they are the ones the kids really enjoyed the previous summer.
One of the changes for this year involves how the ladies of the summer reading program log the number of books read. Instead of counting the number of books logged in as in previous years — which resulted in smaller children racking up more books read and the older kids lagging behind because they were reading thicker, tougher-to-read books — they now keep track of the total hours read. This should be a good way to keep the competition close throughout the summer, giving the older kids a little more of an even playing field.
I would say this was written as an endorsement of the summer reading program to get more children registered and taking part in the fun, but to be honest I’m not sure the learning center can handle many more bodies in that room. I figure that is a good problem to have and maybe if parents have to be step outside to make more room that will give the ladies who run things an excuse to get a bigger venue for next summer.
Matt Cook serves as the managing editor of the Ennis Daily News and can be reached at matt@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Jun 25 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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