Earlier this month, the Sacramento Public Library launched its 2011 Summer Reading program, One World, Many Stories. Through the program, the library challenges people of all ages to read books, explore library resources, and attend some of the more than 600 programs offered across 28 branches. As we launch a new year, it's fitting time look back at the roots of children's reading in Sacramento.
In 1919, just one year after the construction of the new main library, the Sacramento Public Library joined others across the country in celebrating Children's Book Week. In November of each year, the library installed displays, dispersed reading lists, and distributed posters, and dozens of local merchants planned Book Week window displays.
By the 1930s, library branches were hosting summer reading clubs for children. The first mentioned by name was the Jig-Saw Zoo Reading Club, which claimed many readers in 1947 and continued for the next 20 years. Other special summer reading clubs sprung up at the children's branches. In 1953, the McClatchy Branch Library, then still a "Young People's Library," ran a Summer Space Flight reading club. In 1967, children joined the Smokey the Bear Reading Program, and in 1969, they were challenged to "Read at Yard of Books."
Over the intervening decades, the Sacramento Public Library has continued its tradition of offering engaging summer programs that encourage reading outside of the classroom.
For more information about the 2011 Summer Reading program, visit www.saclibrary.org or call (916) 264-2920.
PHOTO CREDIT: Top: Children sit for summertime Story Hour at the McClatchy Branch Library for Young People (by McCurry Foto Co., ca. 1945); Bottom: Boys stand with books and certificates outside the Fruitridge Branch Library (1968). From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library.