Assemblywoman Buttenschon Teams Up with Area Libraries and School Lunch Programs to Promote Summer Reading

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) has taken her annual Summer Reading Challenge to a new level. Unlike previous years, where children received flyers through their teachers and at pick-up locations, Assemblywoman Buttenschon has taken additional steps to encourage children to continue reading over the summer.

“The Utica City School District recently worked with Assemblywoman Buttenschon’s office to help ensure that children in the community have access to the Summer Reading Program materials through the distribution of book marks and calendars during our student lunch program,” Bruce J. Karam, Superintendent of Utica Schools stated.

Partnering with the Rome and Utica school districts, Buttenschon filled grab and go lunch meals, provided through the school districts with material on her Summer Reading Challenge. She also dispersed bookmarks and calendars through Municipal housing so that no child was overlooked.

“While we are in a digital age where people can simply log on and download material they need, we need to remember that is not the case for everyone,” Buttenschon stated. “It is important that every child have the same opportunities available. Therefore, offering something that required our youth to access a computer or print a form wasn’t acceptable for me. I needed to make sure they were able to obtain these forms in hand. And, I needed them to know that they have wonderful library platforms that are there to help them find books they would be interested in.”

Buttenschon reached out to all libraries within the 119th district and came up with creative means to bring the Summer Reading Challenge to the younger community. Libraries began placing flyers and three bookmarks, courtesy of the New York State Assembly, in every curbside check-out book as of last week. The Assemblywoman also conducted several pre-taped readings of her favorite book, as well as her favorite spaces within the library, which the libraries will showcase on their virtual sessions over the summer.

“Picking up a good book not only helps keep our minds sharp, but can also transport us to far off lands, into the distant past or worlds beyond our own imagination,” Buttenschon said. “My Summer Reading Challenge encourages kids to develop a lifelong love of reading that will help them avoid the summer slide and open them up to new experiences. I’ve partnered with our libraries to help ensure that every child has access to a book and understands the vast amount of knowledge and opportunities that await them in these spaces. Our libraries have been patiently waiting to visit with their patrons. Now that they are opening, I’m encouraging everyone to explore the history they hold and join in the fun of a good book.”

This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story” to encourage children in the Mohawk Valley to use their imagination as they read. Materials for the challenge, including a calendar and bookmark, are available at all local libraries and grab-to-go lunch locations.

“Dunham Public Library is excited to work with Assemblywoman Buttenschon to encourage reading among our youth this summer,” April Bliss, Executive Director of Dunham Public Library, stated. “Our library has always thrived on our wonderful youth programs and the bustle of children exploring our bookshelves. As we open our doors, our partnership with Assemblywoman Buttenschon has felt like an invitation to action. This was a way to work together to help advocate for the services we now have available and the reading opportunities that await the children that have been apart from us for so long.”

To participate in the Summer Reading Challenge, children should read a book for a minimum of 15 minutes a day for at least 40 days during July and August. Children can read on their own or with a reading partner, such as family or friends, and mark days off on the calendar provided. Once they’ve reached 40 days or more, they can submit the calendar to Buttenschon’s office to receive an Excellence in Reading Certificate. For more information or to get materials, contact Buttenschon’s office at 315-732-1055 or