The nine independent libraries that form the Library System of Bradford County took over the Bradford County Airport on Saturday, June 8, to provide residents with breakfast and a morning full of STEAM activities. This marks the first ever system-wide summer reading Launch Party to kick off the very busy season to come.
Each year a national theme is chosen for summer reading at public libraries across the country. The theme is optional, but the Library System of Bradford County has chosen to embrace it fully, making 2019 the Summer of Space in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Officially called “A Universe of Stories”, this year’s summer reading will focus on all things aerospace.
“What better way to start this year’s summer reading off with a bang than one big party together,” said System Administrator Lea Chisum-Chaffee, adding, “Once we knew what the theme was, it seemed obvious to have each of our libraries represent one of the planets and do something fun that would allow people to have a trip through the solar system.”
From this simple idea, the Launch Party was born.
Nearly 200 people joined the libraries at the airport to start that tour, complete with passports and a breakfast catered by The Flying Cow. Each library featured their randomly chosen planet with activities and crafts. The bookmobile also took part and a space hop was set up to allow everyone to envision a scaled down model of the solar system.
Ambiance was provided by local indie band The Dank Hopes Project, who treated participants to originals and covers. The big finale was a presentation about the history and future of space travel by retired NASA engineer Timothy Potter who also brought along promotional items from the organization.
Wyalusing Children’s Librarian, Jenn Belcher, was pleased with the turnout.
“It was wonderful to see so many community organizations come together for a great cause,” said Belcher, adding, “There was something for everyone. Music, food, activities, and informational booths all came together to make a very special event.”
Many community partners joined the festivities with informational tables and activities. Among those present were the Abuse Rape Crisis Center’s Strengthening Families Program and anniversary origami project, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts Troy Scouting Troup 4049, Girl Scouts, and Bradford-Wyoming County Literacy Program.
“It was wonderful to see the surrounding communities come together, both young and old, for a worthy event that focuses on the families to build our youth through reading,” said Barbara Brown, a committee Member with Troop 4049. The Boy Scouts also volunteered to help with setup and to serve the food.
Bradford County Airport Manager Kerry Spaulding stated, “The county airport staff was only too happy to help the Library System of Bradford County host this great event promoting aerospace, aviation and STEAM topics for our future aviation pioneers.”
A former NASA employee himself, Spaulding provided enthusiasm and support during the planning of the event and introduced the featured speaker. He stated, “Lea and her team did an awesome job in the planning and preparation and it was a pleasure to collaborate with them.”
Chisum-Chaffee said the libraries are very pleased with the outcome of this first program and hope to make the Launch Party an annual event, and stated, “The feedback has been incredible and we are excited to expose more people to what we do. Libraries are such an important part of the community and a chance to come together like this gives us an opportunity to demonstrate our gratitude to the public for their support and showcase all of the innovative things we have to offer.”
Bradford County Library Children’s Librarian Rebecca Troup-Hodgdon agreed, stating, “I’m glad that all nine libraries got an opportunity to show off what we bring to the community: fun educational experiences. Best of all it’s free! Hopefully we’ll meet ever more people throughout the summer as we continue to explore the infinite possibilities of space.”
The Launch Party was just the first in a series of programs being offered this year for Summer Reading. In addition to their own independent programs, the nine libraries of the system will also host four shared programs. Each program will visit multiple libraries a day over the course of a week. See your local library for their specific day and time for each program.
First, Kopernik Observatory and Science Center will present a program recounting the history of four area astronauts followed by the building and setting off of air rockets June 18 through the 20. Tanglewood Nature Center and Preserve will bring Nancy Guettier’s “Circus in the Sky” to life with five live animals June 24 through the 28. Patron favorite ScienceTellers will bring their blend of theater and science in the form of “Aliens: Escape from Earth” July 9 through July 11. Finally, Kopernik will return to close out the shared programming with their Summer Night Sky program in which they will demonstrate Stellarium software and construct skywheels July 16 through July 18.
The Library System of Bradford County is composed of nine independent libraries including Allen F. Pierce Free Library in Troy, Bradford County Library in Burlington, Green Free Library in Canton, Mather Memorial Library in Ulster, Monroeton Public Library in Monroeton, Sayre Public Library in Sayre, Spalding Memorial Library in Athens, Towanda Public Library in Towanda, and Wyalusing Public Library in Wyalusing.