Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
Employees of the Clayton County Library System were busy making sure hundreds of books, gifts, and school supplies, were perfectly displayed at the system's headquarters branch on Monday afternoon.
Gift sets, that include stuffed animals, were displayed with pencils, and books on shelves and cabinet tops. Books about sick bears were stacked up next to books about pirates, who can change a baby's diaper. The books were neatly lined up, just waiting for someone -- maybe a parent
or a child -- to come in, and purchase them.
It was all in preparation for today, when library officials opened their summer Scholastic Half-Off Book Fair. The sale will continue until June 22. The headquarters library branch is located at 865 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro.
The book fair is a fund-raiser, to accumulate paperback books that are given out as reading rewards during the library system's annual summer reading program, said Janice Arcuria, the library system's assistant director for youth services. Arcuria said Scholastic gives the library the book equivalent of 10 percent of the total sales from the book sale.
"During the summer, we give a child a book, if they read 18 books, or if they read for nine hours, and this is how we earn those books," Arcuria said.
Last year, more than 6,000 local children participated in Clayton County's summer reading program, according to Arcuria. She added, that 1,913 books were given to children as a reward for reading books. This summer, the library hopes to give out 2,100 books as rewards.
The books available at the fair span a wide range of interests, including cookbooks, books about religion, trivia books, children's biography books, and books from the "Twilight," "The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod," "Percy Jackson and the Olympians," and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" book series.
Arcuria said giving books to children to read during the summer is a good way to keep up, and maybe even improve, their reading abilities. "Kids who read a lot during the summer are not as likely to see a big drop in their reading comprehension levels," Arcuria said.
The library system's youth services chief also said books can be a good way to keep children occupied during road trips, or while staying with relatives during the summer. "A lot of kids are visiting their grandparents, or their aunts and uncles, during the summer, and they want to take some books along to read," Arcuria said.
Arcuria said the book fair's supplies arrived early on Monday, and staff members were doing touch-up work before opening. She said people interested in coming by the book fair this morning should call the headquarters library branch, at (770) 473-3850, before dropping by the library.
The library is open Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m., to 9 p.m.; on Fridays, from 9 a.m., to 6 p.m.; and on Saturdays, from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m. The library is closed on Sundays, during the summer. The book fair will begin, each day, 30 minutes after the library opens, and end 30 minutes before the library closes.