Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

Lazy Days of Summer Reading

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved libraries—the way they smell, the way they sound, and the way they look and feel. It’s no surprise, then, that I have loved taking my own children to the library, and that has always been part of our summer routine. It’s the one time of the year when we don’t have to rush in and rush out. We can stay as long as we like.

benjiEven our dog Benji, who died a few months ago, loved going to the library. Before his health declined, he participated in the Paws to Read program at the Duncan branch. Children who are just learning to read take turns reading aloud to calm dogs (which have been certified by the People Animals Love organization) in a relaxed setting with no one to correct their pronunciation. Paws to Read is also offered at the Beatley Central Library and the Burke branch.

If your child needs a little extra coaxing to read this summer, the Alexandria Library offers summer reading programs for children up to age 18. (Thanks, Ben Fiore-Walker, vice president of the Patrick Henry Elementary PTA, for sharing that tip in a recent email newsletter.) The library also has on its website reading lists of suggested books for different age groups.

All ACPS middle school students (including rising 6th graders) have a summer reading project that is due on September 9. Several AP courses also have summer reading assignments.

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Communities Support Libraries
The Pew Research Center has just released some fascinating results from a survey about libraries. Among some of the findings:

  • People age 16 to 64 are more likely to have visited a public library in the past 12 months than those age 65 and over.
  • Just 4% of Americans are “e-book only” readers.
  • The majority of library patrons would be interested in getting customized recommendations of books based on past library activity.

The survey also shows that even those who have never used a library believe that they are an important part of a community. The various Friends of the Library groups might want to share this data with City Council members before next year’s city budget deliberations.

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Progress on our Waterfront
Slowly but surely, plans to revitalize Alexandria’s waterfront are inching their way forward. Some early concepts for how the spaces may be designed are now available, and they look promising.

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