DCL honors young readers, attempts to be first library in space

Jul. 15, 2013 @ 05:55 PM

Summer readers were honored last week at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for their hard work in the Durham County Library Summer Reading program during a Mid-Point Rally prior to the Durham Bulls game.

Joshua Crabtree, 7, of Hillandale Elementary, Margaret Ann Healy, 9, of Easley Elementary, Sierra Hearn, 11, of Carrington Middle, Aaron Lobo, 11, of Lucas Middle and Ngat Kpa, 11, of Lakewood Elementary were honored for having each read more than 900 minutes since the start of the program on June 15.
As the children gathered before the game with their families, they were of few words when asked about their love of reading.
“It’s fun,” Ann said. She’s read about 1,500 minutes and is currently reading “Dear Dumb Diary” by Jim Benton.
“It’s just fun to read,” Aaron said. He said he enjoys reading graphic novels and comic books.
“I like books,” Joshua said. Currently reading “Guardians of Ga’Hoole” by Kathryn Lasky, Joshua said that he likes the characters.
Each child was given a kiss on the head by Wool E. Bull and a Durham Bulls autographed baseball.
Along with the children who were honored, the library attempted a feat that would have put them in the history books, becoming the first library in space.
Prior to the first pitch against the Charlotte Knights, the Durham County Library began the rally with the launch of a capsule filled with stickers into space.
Lifted by a helium filled weather balloon, the capsule was expected to get to between 70,000 and 100,000 feet, high enough to see the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space, before the balloon would burst and send the capsule parachuting back to earth.
Cameras on board took pictures and video during the trip. The progress of the balloon, including real-time GPS coordinates, were provided at firstlibraryinspace.org and the library’s Twitter feed @DurhamCountyLib kept viewers up to date.
The update on the website indicated that despite the successful launch, all data was lost at about 60,000 feet and there has been no communication with the capsule since.
“At this point, the capsule and its payload are lost,” the site explained. “However, NC Near Space Research, who helped us put everything together have had lost capsules reappear up to a year after launch when someone found it and called the phone number in the capsule. So all hope is not lost.”
There is live video feed footage up to 60,000 feet but it is of low quality and “not good enough to post any type of imagery.”
If the capsule is recovered the stickers in it will be given out to children. The capsule launch was funded by a grant from the Friends of the Durham Library.
“We try to make it bigger and better each year,” said Lynne Barnette, manager for the Southwest Regional Branch of the Durham County Library. “We’ve had a great response. This is for everyone. It’s not just for children. We encourage everyone to join and participate.
“For people who are in a family, it’s a great family activity. They can do it as a family and put their focus on something really productive.”
Currently, the DCL summer reading program has 4,155 children, teens and adults enrolled with a total of 771,083 minutes read.
The Durham Library Foundation provided 400 tickets in sections 128 and 130 for reading program participants to attend the Bulls and Knights game following the rally.
Barnette said that it’s not too late for interested readers to sign-up for the summer reading program through the library’s website, www. http://durhamcountylibrary.org.
Barnette added that the program is more beneficial than some may initially believe.
“It’s been proven that children tend to slide in the summer if they’re not reading. Reading is the one thing that keeps their skills up and they’re in a better position when school starts up in the fall.”
This year’s reading program kicked off on June 15 at Northgate Mall with a fun day of activities for the entire family.
Through the summer reading program, participants earn one point for each minute read. The points can be redeemed for prizes ranging from mini-erasers and earbuds to a T-shirt and flashlight with keychain.
There are two grand prizes per age group. The children’s grand prizes are a LeapPad and Kindle Fire; the teen’s can win an iPod Touch with $25 iTunes gift certificate, Kindle Fire or Xbox with remote; and adults can win an iPad mini or a “Night on the Town” combo pack with gift cards for dinner and a performance at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Participants who earn 600 points are eligible for the grand prizes.
Points can be earned by reading books, visiting different branches of the Durham County Library, using the online database, going to various library programs or writing book reviews.
Each location will hold its own grand finale at the end of the summer reading program on its last day, Aug. 10. More children will be honored for their reading on Aug. 9.