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Teens Turn Page On Another Summer

Reading club wraps at Massapequa Library

As summer draws to a close, so does yet another season of the Massapequa Library’s Teen Summer Reading Club; however, it ended on a high note, as this year was the program’s most successful yet.

Young Adult Services librarian Peter Cirona, who has run the program for the past eleven years, originally had 70 pre-registrants when the club kicked off in late June; he had hoped have 100 members when the season came to a close on August 17.

“We ended up with 113, which is a record,” he said. “The previous record was 80...we did more promotion this year, and the preview article in the Massapequa Observer at the beginning of the summer helped a lot.”

To celebrate, Cirona held the Summer Reading Club’s annual wrap-up party in the courtyard of the library’s Central Avenue building, an event that boasted food, music, and exciting prizes for all invitees.

“Everyone who read at least two books was invited to the party,” he said. “We’re also having Bob’s magic show...I’ve had him every year, and he’s always a big attraction.”

“Bob” is, in fact, Magician Robert McEntee. McEntee started practicing magic as a kid and, after a detour in the engineering field for a while, left that behind and has been spellbinding audiences professionally for over eight years and counting; he does shows for adults and corporate events as well as entertaining kids at events like this one.

“That’s part of my message to kids...find something that you love to do, and pursue it,” he said. “That’s the key- even if you don’t make quite as much, life is short, and you have to do what you like.”

McEntee’s fun and lighthearted show included lots of storytelling, comedy, slight-of-hand, games, mind-reading, and (ever a crowd-pleaser) fire-eating.

However, the big draw for club members this year is the special giveaway of a fancy electronic e-book reader as the grand prize raffle, according to Cirona.

“Fort those who read at least ten books and wrote short reports on them - there are 18 kids who did that - they’re eligible for a drawing to win a seven-inch color Nook,” he said. “Everyone else is eligible for the general raffles, which are some Barnes and Noble gift cards. Plus, everyone who comes today gets a t-shirt.”

Alex Sitterer was one of the standouts of the Summer Reading Club; aside from the sheer volume of books he put away this year, it’s not every day that an 11 year-old already knows that he wants to be a Theoretical Physicist when he grows up.

Ever expanding his horizons, young Alex even dragged a stack of Popular Science magazines along to the library that day just in case the party hit a lull.

“Actually, I read many books, more than I did reports on. I normally read between three and four books a day,” he said. “I would have done more reports but I had so many books, plus I had summer camp, so it would be way too difficult to do reports on every book that I read. If I did, I would probably have to have done 50 or 60 reports.”

Kiera Pagano, 12, took the Summer Reading Club as an opportunity to catch up on a favorite series of hers, as well as a few new books as well.

“I lost count of how many books I read this summer,” she said. “I’m into this series called Warrior Cats...it has over 50 books and they’re still working on the series, so it’s going to go for a while. So I decided to re-read the series over the summer. I’m pretty sure I read ten of those books, and I also read a bunch of other books as well.”

As for the coveted Nook e-book reader drawing, Meagan Phillips, 11, was the lucky young lady whose name was read aloud as being the winner. According to her, no one wanted that swanky electronic tome more than her that day.

“I only wrote reports on 11 books this summer, but I read over 30 of them,” she said. “I’m really excited about winning the Nook, and now that I have it, I’m going to start putting some books on it right away, like The Hunger Games.”

Maris Job, Assistant Director of the Massapequa Public Library, extolled the continued success of the library’s reading programs among all age groups.

“We have been over the moon this year, because the enrollment has been the best it’s been in years,” she said. “Not only was our young adult program successful, but also our children’s and adult reading programs as well. In fact, we had over 800 children participate this year between out Central Avenue and Bar Harbour branches alone.”