Residents of the greater Newburgh area joined the Newburgh Free Library and Newburgh Enlarged City School District for Family Reading Day in celebration of The Day of the Child with music, food, and books for families to enjoy.
The Day of the Child, according to a release from the library “is an internationally recognized initiative that emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children of all backgrounds”. This event celebrates all children and looks to create a connection through literacy.
Laura Garcia, Community Engagement Coordinator for the NFL, who worked and coordinated the event was grateful to see so many people in attendance and enjoying their time. “We’re happy to see so many people here today,” said Garcia. “We have a very diverse community.”
During the course of the afternoon, parents and children were able to listen and sing along to FIESTA, a bilingual family concert performed by Flor Bromley and her band. Other performances for the community included Tales from Many Lands by storyteller Eileen Stelljes and a mariachi concert by Mariachi Viva Mexico.
Free food and food bags were distributed to the families that were in attendance while they were available. The first 100 families were also able to receive a free book.
Community resources such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the City of Newburgh Recreation Department, the Boys and Girls Club and several other organizations tabled on Grand Street throughout the afternoon. Residents also had the opportunity to see Horizon on the Hudson’s Kamishibai Troupes. Kamishibai is a form of storytelling from Japan.
“I’m definitely so happy that all of these community members came out to this event today. The turnout was way better than we originally anticipated and we’re so lucky that we had a beautiful day for it,” said Taylor Beach, a Teen Librarian at NFL. “This is our first big event we’ve really done since COVID hit.”
Prior to the Reading Day, Suzanne Dawes, President of the Friends of the Newburgh Library and her supporters were busy preparing books that were donated by Jenna Bush Hager, co-host of NBC’s ‘TODAY With Hoda & Jenna’.
“We’re so grateful to Jenna [Bush Hager] and the Today Show to get this gift and to be able to get it out into the community,” said Donna Rickey, Book Committee Chairperson for the Friends of the Newburgh Library.
Hager previously traveled to Newburgh to speak with Michell Wright Jumpp, who was recognized as the 2021 New York Library Association’s School Librarian of the Year. Jumpp was also recognized by The Today Show.
During the last two years, COVID put a halt on all library projects and functions, but now as the return events and functions return, books from the program and additional events are ready to be given out.
The Back Door Books program is a sale by donation book space that operates out of
the NFL. On the distributed flyer for the event, most paperbacks were a $.50 donation and most hardcovers were a dollar donation.
“We’re a very, very small part of this Day of the Child. Our focus is the Back Door Books and also giving out books from the Jenna Reads Program,” Dawes said. “We’re here to emphasize the importance of reading for everyone, but certainly for children. A reader today, is a leader tomorrow.” The Friends of the Newburgh Library offer support to the library and are able to assist in any monetary or programming needs that the library requires for whatever reason. Dawes also shared that books are also donated and given to community organizations such as Safe Harbors, Newburgh Ministries, Fearless and look to continue that distribution to the rest of the greater Newburgh community.