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Gov. pushes summer reading at new library

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gov. Susana Martinez dropped by the city’s newest library Thursday to read to a group of small children and to encourage them to pick up a book every day for half an hour throughout the summer.

She also carried a message for the parents in the group about the importance of letting their children know the importance of reading.

“We know that kids who read all the time just do better in school,” Martinez said.

The governor was introduced by her Department of Cultural Affairs secretary, Veronica Gonzales. The late-morning meeting in the Patrick J. Baca Library at Central and Unser was attended by about 30 children, some much too young to understand all the words the adults spoke. But when the governor got down on the carpet to read “The Day I Lost My Superpowers” – a delightful tale of imagination by Michaël Escoffier – about 20 youngsters eagerly gathered around.

It was easy to see that the governor is experienced in reading to kids. She was animated, held the book up to show pictures, broke into the text to ask questions, and generally seemed to enjoy what she was doing.

Martinez was in Albuquerque to kick off the 2015 Public Library Summer Reading Program, designed not only to encourage kids to read during the long summer vacation, but also to explore their local libraries.

The theme of this year’s Public Library Summer Reading Program is “Every Hero Has a Story.”

“I’ve never been in a library that is this awesome,” Martinez told the children. “And it belongs to you!”

Everyone should read books that interest them, she said, asking, “Does anyone like baseball?” As a dozen little hands shot up, she told them that there were lots of books about baseball in the library.

She asked what the children wanted to do with their lives. Some of the responses were perhaps typical – “firefighter,” “doctor,” “nurse” – but even the less common “photographer” and “lawyer” made the list.

“That’s wonderful,” the governor said. “You have dreams.”

A companion to the Public Library Summer Reading Program, “the 2015 New Mexico True Summer Reading Challenge,” brought Martinez to Albuquerque two weeks ago, also to encourage children to read. That program offers prizes to kids who read a certain number of books during the summer.

Twice during Thursday’s hourlong meeting, Martinez sought to quiet her excited audience by telling them to “catch a bubble.” It worked.