The Hazen Memorial Library recently concluded its busiest-ever Summer Reading Program, with 231 participants, 26 percent higher than last year.

There were 17 percent more programs and attendance was up 59 percent from last summer. Congratulations to everyone who participated and on the excellent reading that was accomplished.

Winners of the weekly prizes are Kevin Sebastian, Nikhil Pratapagiri, Brian Stanislaw, Liliana Pinault, Noah Reed, Paul Jahn, Jack Gantous, Tallulah Manning, Hailey Davan, Zachary Sickorez, Ashley Eselionis and Sophia Brown.

The "Dig Into Reading" grand-prize winners are Kara O'Neil, Benjamin Granville, Annabella Pinault, Trudy Burnham and Will Gantous.

The grand-prize winners for the "Beneath the Surface" program are Willie Barrett, Sreenidhi Chalimadugu and Qeanu Smith.

The Summer Reading Program would not be possible without the generosity of the Friends of the Hazen Memorial Library and Bemis Associates, Inc., who sponsored The Catch the Science Bug Program, daily reading prizes, craft programs, children's and teen grand prizes and the Creatures Teachers program. Without the Friends' hard work and support, none of this would have been possible, not even the worm races.

Thanks also to the Shirley Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency that generously sponsored the kickoff event, "Reading is Magic," with Ed the Wizard.

The Summer Reading Programs are also sponsored by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Massachusetts Library System and the Boston Bruins, with federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

A huge thank-you to the Trustees of the Hazen Memorial Library for sponsoring the Ice Cream Finale.

I owe a great debt and gratitude to Barbara Masiero, who faithfully helps me every summer to ensure that every child who signs up gets the correct materials in their bag.

Warmest thanks to the many teen volunteers who helped keep the program running, especially Texas Manning and Sreenidhi Chalimadugu.

Thank you to all of the grown-ups who encouraged literacy and drove their children to the library so they could participate. Thank you to all of the many volunteers who helped to fill up all of the inflatables.

A heartfelt thanks to Miss Deb, Miss Carol and Steven for helping throughout the summer; the teamwork was fantastic and extremely important to ensure that everyone had a great time.

Most of all, I would like to thank all of the children who made this our biggest summer reading program ever. You guys rock!

KATHLEEN FARRAR

Youth Services

Librarian

Hazen Memorial Library