|Casper Journal Articles
From the Natrona County Public Library
Casper to Celebrate Wyoming Literacy Day May 15
By Brenda Thomson, Community Relations Coordinator
May 2, 2007
“Mine!” It’s a common phrase in any household where children reside. It might mean someone’s not sharing, or that a tantrum is brewing. “Mine” can also be a positive term. Sometimes it means that a child is taking ownership of his belongings, feelings, or actions. On May 15, 2007, every first grader in Wyoming will receive a book to call their very own at the second annual Wyoming Reads celebration. Many will also be offered the chance to obtain their first library card.
Why is it important that children have a book they can say “mine” about? As children participate in the Wyoming Reads celebration, and long after they take their books home, they are encouraged to enjoy reading – to take ownership of their literacy through the simple gift of a book.
Wyoming Reads is an annual event organized and funded by the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation. It began in 1999 as “Casper Cares, Casper Reads,” and became a statewide event in 2006. This year’s celebration marks the first year that every county and school district in Wyoming will participate. On May 1, Governor Dave Freudenthal signed a proclamation naming May 15th as Wyoming Literacy Day coinciding with the community event. The Honorary Chair of this year’s event is Secretary of State Max Maxfield.
Natrona County’s celebration will be held at the Nicolaysen Art Museum and the Natrona County Public Library, and will include 895 first graders from public, home and private schools. Each first grader will receive one of the following books:
- “The Great Fuzz Frenzy” by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
- “Young Shepherd” by Cat Urbigkit
- “I Ain't Gonna Paint No More” by Karen Beaumont and David Catrow
- “The Little Red Hen” by Jerry Pinkney
- “Prehistoric Actual Size” by Steve Jenkins
- “The Younger Brother's Survival Guide” by Matt and Lisa Kopelke.
The celebration will include story times with “Celebrity Readers from the community, a picnic lunch, and the presentation of a special fairytale about the Good Queen Sue – a tribute to Sue Jorgensen, in whose memory this event was established. Many prominent community members have agreed to donate their time as “Celebrity Readers” including Jane and Mike Sullivan, and Marta and Tom Stroock.
As a special feature this year, Diane VonGunten has written a song to celebrate each of the 6 books, and will perform at the celebration. To listen to her songs, visit www.natronacountylibrary.org/wyreads.html.
John Jorgensen established the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation in 1996 and founded the Casper Cares, Casper Reads festival to honor his late wife's commitment to literacy and children. "She was always very dedicated to children and to literacy," says John. "She believed that until someone can read, they can't really do anything else.” That vision continues to fuel this important community enterprise.
Partners in this year’s celebration include the McMurry Foundation, Rocky Mountain Power, Tonkin Foundation, Casper Rotary Club, Rotary District 5540, Friends of the Natrona County Public Library, Casper Star-Tribune, State Farm Insurance, Wyoming State Library, United Methodist Thrift Shop and a number of very generous individual supporters.
For more information about this event, visit www.natronacountylibrary.org/wyreads.html.
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