“If you cannot read, you cannot lead,” chanted City of Opa-locka Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor in the Opa-locka Branch of the Miami-Dade County Library, 780 Fisherman Street, #140, Opa-locka, Florida 33054, where she and Commissioner Gail E. Miller read aloud to visitors from Kids Kozy Korner Kindergarten, Big Mama’s Home Care, Inc., Hanna’s Childcare Academic Development Center, B’s Enterprise/Rose Healthcare and Dr. Robert B. Ingram Kindergarten, in celebration of the 2012 National Library Week in April.
On Tuesday April 3, Mayor Taylor read The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, and Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus, while on Thursday, April 4, Commissioner Miller read Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone, to an eager group of students, parents and teachers.
The Very Busy Spider is a simple picture storybook, where the readers follow a spider through the day as it creates a web. A contemporary classic, this book is about the satisfaction of working and completing a task; Leo the Late Bloomer is a story about different skills, talents, and timelines. It begins with a little tiger, who feels bad about all the things he can’t do, such as read or write like his friends. He is also a sloppy eater and compares himself to others, resulting in him feeling like a disappointment. THEN, one day, “in his own good time” Leo bloomed. Finally, The Little Red Hen has a message about the rewards of hard work and taking responsibility for your own personal contribution in a team. Although it may seem unfair that the Little Red Hen has to do all the chores herself, at the end of the day it is not the dog, the cat or the mouse, but the little Red Hen who reaps the benefits, while the others begin to realize that they would be happier had they participated in the effort.
While reading, each Official encouraged and engaged audience participation through interactive responses. The enthusiastic youth, commented and answered questions, by a show of hands, while egging the Mayor, through lots of giggling, to continue her animated voice as she read more about the adventurous characters in each story.
In 1957, National Library Week was developed by the National Book Committee as a plan, based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of American Library Association (ALA) and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!” But, when the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship. This was the fifth year that the Opa-locka Library Branch, which opened in the summer of 2007, invited City, County and Community leaders to assist during National Library Week in bringing awareness to the vital role that libraries play in the literacy, development, growth, understanding and enrichment of our youth.
Emphasizing the importance of reading and utilizing the library as a resource and a valuable asset in helping the youth advance in education, Mayor Taylor encouraged the youth to obtain a library card and have their parents bring them to the library often, not just for school assignments or during National Library Week, but so they may continue reading for pleasure all year long! A mother of eight, the Mayor said “Reading to my children when they were young exposed them to places they’ve never seen.” For good behavior, Commissioner Miller awarded the children “goodie bags” after reading her book. She said the enjoyment of reading to her own grand baby means more than just sharing a story, “It also provides bonding time for the two of us.”
Although National Library Week is only observed in April each year, those who love to read, have lots of opportunity to do so at the Opa-locka Branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library, Monday through Thursday and Saturdays from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM. The Library is closed on Friday and Sunday. For information on other programs offered by the Opa-locka Branch Library call: 305 688-1134.