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Duncan vs. the Pool: Our Summer Readers Program Visits Barre

July 19, 2012

By Gretchen Stern

Competing with a swimming pool is no easy task. But that’s exactly what CLiF’s Duncan McDougall had to do when he visited the Barre City Recreation Department at Rotary Park this past Tuesday.

As children splashed with screams of delight in the city pool, Duncan was hard at work setting up a sea of books on tables in the shade nearby. And though the hot weather practically required constant contact with the refreshing pool water, children slowly migrated towards Duncan and his three tables of shiny, new books.

They perused the array of titles with piqued curiosity, towels slung over their shoulders and goggles pushed up on their heads.They stood on tiptoes and carefully leaned over the table, keeping their drippy bathing suits from damaging the colorful book covers.

They announced to their companions what books they hoped to take home, exclaimed when they found one they had already read, and questioned Duncan on the parameters of the impending event:

“So, do we really get to keep two books?”

“Can I pick out my books now?”

And even, “Do I have to listen to the storytelling to get my books?”

Several older boys posed that last question. Their reluctance to sit through story time was easy to see. But ten minutes later when the event officially began, all those curious kids climbed out of the cool water, moseyed on over to the grass in front of Duncan’s tables, and found a comfy spot in the shade.

As soon as Duncan dove into his presentation, even the most reluctant of preteen boys raised his hand, eager to share with Duncan and the larger group. They yelled out what type of books they like to read, guessed what would happen next in the story Duncan told, and cheered as he showed everyone a few of the books they could choose to bring home.

According to Stephanie Quaranta, the Barre City Recreation Director, many of the children in attendance didn’t have books at home. Unfortunately, household funds are limited, and when extra money is available, books are not the first priority.

Receiving two new books from CLiF is a delightful treat. And from the eager looks on many kids’, the books will be put to good use! Before the book event even drew to a close, kids were already squatting on their towels excitedly exploring their possessions. They talked of sharing the books with their siblings, who were not in attendance, ran to their friends or parents to show off what they chose, and walked away with a smile!

Duncan: 1, Pool: 0.

Nice work, Duncan!

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