Summer Reading Launch in Watertown 6/27/12

North Country libraries celebrated the start of “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” with an exciting all-day kickoff event at the historic Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library inWatertown,New York. The launch event included a press conference at noon followed by activities involving the entire community: children, teens, families,FortDrummilitary personnel, legislators, and library and education professionals.  The kick-off activities were held outside of the library as part ofWatertown’s Wednesday Farmer’s Market.

Speaking at the press conference were Senator Patricia A. Ritchie, Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, Jenny Adfit, Jefferson County Legislator, and New York State Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Jeffrey W. Cannell, with introductions by Barbara Wheeler, director of the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library.

In attendance at the event were Stephen Bolton, Director of the North Country Library System, Emily Owen, Youth Services Consultant for the North Country Library System, Karen Balsen, Coordinator of “Summer Reading at new York Libraries,” as well as community members and local media.

New York Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Jeffrey W. Cannell remarked on the importance of summer reading, “It is our fervent hope, that through the efforts of our formidable and committed team, young people throughout the state will begin school this September committed to and prepared for academic excellence.”

“In a time when so many of our youths are using electronic gadgets, it’s important to endorse libraries,” said state Senator Patricia A. Ritchie. “It’s important to teach our children how important reading is.”

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell is partnering with the summer reading program by participating in the “Assembly Summer Reading Challenge.” If a child reads 15 minutes a day for at least 40 days in July and August he or she will receive a state Assembly Excellence in Reading certificate from Assemblywoman Russell.“I send every certificate in the mail,” she said. “I have to keep signing and signing and signing because so many kids are reading.”



Immediately following the press conference was a live performance by “Austin Davis & the Movement.” Austin Davis, lead singer and guitarist, is a soldier musician from Fort Drum who recently served in Afghanistanas a combat engineer.Daviswas joined on stage with his wife, Chelsea Davis, playing rhythm, and her brother, Adam Falge, on bass. This event was sponsored by the library’s Adult Services department.

Children’s librarian Ashley Groff held a story time before the press conference that had over 60 children and their families in attendance.

There were also library volunteers like Tammy Stout, a professional face painter, who donated her services for the day. Also on the library lawn were craft stations, a duck pond game, and henna tattoos for teens.

A used book sale took place all day long to benefit the library. The book sale takes place every Wednesday outside of the library. At each event children were given the opportunity to sign up for “Summer Reading at New York Libraries.” Over 200 children and their families participated in the launch festivities.

Local media reported on the launch:

The WatertownDaily Times:


For more information about the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, please visit

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New York State Library

Summer Reading at New York Libraries is funded in part through the Federal Library Services and Technology Act, with funds awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. The New York State Library is a program of the Office of Cultural Education in the New York State Education Department.