On Saturday, the 2022 Summer Reading Program marked its official end during a culminating event at the Goleta Valley Libraries. Event organizers estimated there were about 200-300 attendees.
“The event was one of the happiest programs we have had in so long. It was spectacular and so much fun. Everyone had a big smile on their face,” Elizabeth Saucedo, librarian at Goleta Valley Library told the News-Press. “We run the summer reading program every year. This is the first time we have had the program in-person since 2019.”
The News-Press asked Ms. Saucedo how it felt to be back in person: “It felt wonderful. It was so great to be able to see the smiles on everyone’s faces. When the children walked in and saw the balloons and activities, their faces lit up. Every corner they turned was a new exciting opportunity. It felt so happy to have everyone come together here at the library,” she said.
“The atmosphere was energetic and positive, an atmosphere of excitement all in the name of celebrating reading and all of the great reading everyone did in the past eight weeks. It was definitely an energetic day at the library, a little magical,” said Ms. Saucedo.
Local publisher Seven Seas Press distributed free copies of their newest children’s book “Makana.” Author Janet Lucy signed copies of her book for young readers. Some hard copies will be donated to the library as well, according to Ms. Saucedo.
The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) also had a table to learn about the ocean and gave out free museum passes.
“Three volunteers from SBMM were here distributing museum passes and had a fun ocean craft for the kids,” said Ms. Saucedo. So some of the “kids made a craft as they waited in line for face painting.” The Ice in Paradise polar bear mascot also made an appearance.
“Today was the last day for readers to get their prizes. It was a great celebration of all of the work that they had done,” said Ms. Saucedo. We also had “sensory bins with water beads and plastic sea creatures and some of the kids stayed there a while.” Additionally the “face painter was very talented and did so many great designs.
“We wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who made the special event today and the summer reading program possible. Over 50 community organizations donated prizes and time; we also have a huge group of volunteers. We really appreciate the support and all of the community organizations who help make this possible. We are grateful for all the support we had and how all of that support goes to literacy in the library and our community. It’s been a really happy summer for us here,” said Ms. Saucedo.