Library celebrates end of summer reading with annual author breakfast

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker .Community members enjoyed breakfast at Stambaugh Auditorium on Aug. 2 during the annual Author Breakfast in celebration of completion of the summer reading program.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker .Avery Bacha posed with the library mascot on Aug. 2 during the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County's annual Summer Reading Breakfast.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker .Community members enjoyed a buffet breakfast during the library's annual Author Breakfast celebrating the end of the summer reading program on Aug. 2.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker .Deborah Carpenter, her daughter, Andrea Moss, and two grand children, Josiah and Amaris Moss, enjoyed breakfast at Stambaugh Auditorium on Aug. 2.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker .Author Laura Numeroff read her book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" to the crowds gathered at Stambaugh Auditorium on Aug. 2.

By JESSICA HARKER

jharker@vindy,com

The Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County hosted the annual Author Breakfast on Aug. 2 celebrating the end of the summer reading program.

Laura Numeroff, author of “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie,” was the guest speaker at the event this year.

“It’s really exciting to see this amount of people who are waiting in the lines to get in and listen to me speak,” Numeroff said.

She said that she hopes to emphasize the importance of reading to the young people gathered at the event, stating that reading as a child makes for a smarter and more curious adult.

“Reading is so important for a variety of reasons,” Numeroff said. “If you want to be a writer, you have to read.”

Numeroff said that she usually speaks to smaller crowds, but does do a lot of traveling across the country to speak to people about her work.

“It’s the libraries and the schools where I get to meet the people I am writing for,” Numeroff said, stating that she loves writing for third- and fourth-graders.

She said that she hopes that children listening to her speak walk away with one message, never give up.

“My books have all been rejected, many times,” Numeroff said. “I got rejected last week, success has nothing to do with that.”

Numeroff said that she hopes to inspire young people to pursue their writing dreams by encouraging them to read, and to always keep working towards their goals.

“I had no idea when I got started that there would be this many people waiting who have read my book,” she said.

Programming and Youth Services Director Erin Phemester said that the library has been hosting the summer reading breakfast for eight years.

“We wanted to have something to celebrate the success and the work that they [community members] had put into participating in the summer reading program,” Phemester said. “And we wanted to make sure that the celebration focused on books and authors.”

She said that the event has grown throughout the years, starting with only 250 people in a church in Poland and growing to 600 people in Stambaugh Auditorium with more on the waiting list.

“It’s a party to celebrate our love of reading,” Phemester said. “We are excited to celebrate the portion of the readers who were able to RSVP but there were several more who participated in the program and we are so proud of all of the people who participated this year.”

Library Communications Director Janet Loew said that 5,409 community members of all ages participated in the program this year.

New to the event this year was the addition of a photo booth that children could use to take photos with a trophy that says “star reader.”

Children who attend the event also received a cookie that says star reader, and stickers and yard signs to celebrate their completion of the summer reading program.

All community members received a complementary breakfast at the event.

“From age 0-120, we are grateful to support the reading habits of people in this community,” Phemester said.

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