Noe Valley Voice June 1998

All Aboard the Reading Club

By Dodie Hamblen

Reading can take you all sorts of places, especially when you join the San Francisco Library's Summer Reading Club for kids 13 and under.

This year's theme is "Reading -- What a Trip," and club members who log at least eight hours of reading time can earn not only bookmarks and stickers, but passes to Giants games, and to the San Francisco Zoo, the Bay Area Discovery Museum, and the Academy of Sciences and Planetarium in Golden Gate Park. Best of all, they can win new books!

The San Francisco Public Library started the Summer Reading Club more than 50 years ago. Last year 9,500 children signed up, and half of them earned prizes.

According to Carol Small, children's librarian at the Noe Valley ­ Sally Brunn Branch on Jersey Street, "It really is a great program. Each summer between 100 and 150 Noe Valley children participate. It encourages many of them to keep on reading long after the summer is over."

The club runs from June 6 through Aug. 8. To join, says Small, "All you have to do is come in and fill out a record with your child's name and address, then start logging the child's time spent reading."

Small says she's more than happy to help children select books, and she encourages preschoolers to jump on the bookwagon, too. "Their parents can read to them," she hints with a smile.

On Saturday, June 13, in conjunction with the Noe Valley History Day celebration, the library will host two special Reading Club events. At 1:30 p.m., ventriloquist and comedian Steve Chaney, along with his favorite dummy, Cornel-ius, will perform. And at 3 p.m., Germar the Magician will put on a magic show.

In addition to the Summer Reading Club, the San Francisco Public Library offers kids ages 10 to 16 the opportunity to work as Kid Power volunteers. Last summer, over 500 teens and preteens gave 9,000 hours to the library system, helping with a wide range of activities, including assisting younger children in enrolling in the Summer Reading Club. To become a Kid Power volunteer, call 557-4554 or sign up at the Children's Center at the Main Library on Larkin Street.

For more information about Noe Valley's Summer Reading Club, call Carol Small at 695-5095 or drop by the library at 451 Jersey St. (near Castro).

Hours are Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Wednesday, 1 to 9 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 1 to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.