Library ponies up for readers

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Jason Thomas, 1, and his mother, Tasha Thomas, both of Girard, pet Cheyenne before Jason rode her. The Girard Free Library has a summer reading program that includes story time for those too young to read.

By Danny restivo


If someone walked down North Avenue between Prospect and Broadway streets Wednesday, they may have witnessed a scene that resembled a cowboy movie.

Children, some dressed in cowboy hats, waited in a line outside the Girard Free Library for their chance to ride a pony. The event was part of the summer reading program labeled “Dream Big,” said children’s librarian Maria Selak.

“We don’t want any child to go away without a pony ride,” she said.

Three ponies gave rides to children up and down the street while family and friends waved to them and took pictures. Selak said 29 children were scheduled to attend the event, but plenty more showed up. Those attending included local children and their parents looking to enjoy the weather and a free ride.

Jennifer Meyers of Girard came with her two daughters, Ava, 2, and Emma, 1. She said Ava couldn’t wait for the event.

“She’s rode before, but she was excited when she heard about today,” said Meyers.

She said her older daughter comes to the library often to listen during story time.

“I like the princess books,” said Ava.

Vincent Randolph lives only a few blocks from the library. He brought his foster daughter, Brooklyn Randolph, 6, to the event to ride a horse for the first time. He credits the library for keeping Brooklyn engaged while school is out.

“She comes here almost every day for books or DVD’s,” said Randolph. “If they didn’t have this, there wouldn’t be much else for her in the summer,”

Wednesday’s event was part of the program to promote summer reading. It includes getting all of the children involved to read 6,000 books. If the children reach that mark, Selak, who started at the library in 1972, will ride a motorcycle before the children head back to school. The motorcycle novice said it’s all part of her effort to motivate children to read.

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