The St. Marys Public Library recently received a much-needed grant in the amount of $1,100 from the Elk County Community Foundation (ECCF). The grant will be utilized to fund the library's popular Summer Reading Program.
The grant money came from two separate funds set up for the library at the Foundation. A portion of the money came from the St. Marys Public Library Endowment Fund, established over nine years ago by local community leaders. The remaining portion of the grant was from a fund set up for the library following the disbanding of the local Kiwanis Club. That fund had been specifically designated for children's programming at the facility.
"We greatly rely on the support of the Elk County Community Foundation each year," emphasized Scarlette Corbin, library director.
The Summer Reading Program continues to grow each year; in 2010, the program reached an all-time high by registering 675 local children.
The focus of the program is to ensure children maintain their reading level during the summer even though they are not inside a classroom. Any child who completes reading 10 books, or 500 pages, from June through August receives a free item during the library's Scholastic Book Fair held at the close of the program.
In addition to reading, children participate in an array of activities in which they win awards and prizes throughout the summer.
Corbin noted that the grant money has become even more needed in the past several years, as funding for the program was cut in 2006.
She added that the library has turned to area businesses, organizations and individuals to secure funding for this worthwhile program, which costs approximately $5,000 each year to operate.