MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA -- Awards for the 47th Annual Summer Reading Program were presented Saturday. Almost 100 children participated in the program.
For the third consecutive year, Stephanie Galicia, daughter of Cpl. Russell Hardy, military policeman here, read more books than anyone else in the program. Two years ago she stayed ahead of the pack by reading more than 100 books; last year she read more than 200; and this year, she read more than 300.
This year's reading program was dedicated to the memory of the late Ruth Margaret Ruffin, who was the first official MCLB Albany librarian. During Ruffin's 1955-1984 tenure 47 years ago, she initiated the summer reading program.
According to Amos Tookes Jr., base librarian, Ruffin started the reading program to give an extra incentive to children to read.
"We don't teach reading here," said Tookes while welcoming the participants and their families. "We try to give incentives to children to encourage them to read."
The guest speaker for the event was Col. Joseph Wingard, MCLB Albany commanding officer, who was introduced by Maj. Bryan Lucas, the battalion commanding officer.
Wingard told the children that one thing he will always remember is his first time in a library because of the way it smelled. He said he later learned that it was the smell of old books that first turned his nose toward reading. The first book he ever checked out of a library was about a naval officer named John Paul Jones, who is known for his famous alternative "Give me liberty or give me death," which made a lasting impression on the first grader.
Wingard said he was proud of each of the children for their latest accomplishment and encouraged them to try to get their friends involved next year.
This year the program was broken into three separate age groups. The largest group was the 4- to 6-year olds, followed by the 7 to 9 group and then the 10- to 12-year olds.
Tookes reassured parents and the avid readers that if they wanted a book the library didn't carry, with the available resources, they would be able to get it.
The Base Library's hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and they are closed on Sundays and holidays. For more information, call the Base Library at 639-5242.