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Librarian dunked after kids meet reading goals

“Dunk him! Dunk him!”
That’s what nearly 80 kids were screaming in front of Queens Library’s Woodhaven branch on Friday, August 29 as Librarian Kenneth Gordon took the plunge into deep, cold water.
In fact, he took the plunge about 60 times because he had told his youthful readers that the more books they read over the summer, the more time he would spend in cold water that afternoon.
The 900 readers finished 2,070 books, according to Gordon.
“Of course, I would have liked more, but I’m glad they reached that level,” he explained. “We let them read whatever they wanted to read just to show them that reading can be fun.”
Events like the dunking help encourage children to view reading as a pleasant activity, the 29-year-old librarian said. “Most of them wouldn’t read a book as something to do when they’re bored.”
“It was probably the biggest turnout for any kids-related event at the library,” said Benjamin Colon, a customer service specialist at the Woodhaven Library who saw the stunt, which took place at 85-41 Forest Parkway. “It was a lot of fun - I was taking pictures left and right,” Colon added.
Gordon’s stunt is part of a Queens Library tradition of extreme summer reading challenges: librarians at branches throughout the borough pose reading challenges for the kids; if the kids overcome them, the librarians perform stunts like sitting in a tub of Jell-O or kissing a bunny rabbit.
The three-year-old tradition of challenges has helped double the number of participants in Queens Library’s summer reading program, according to Joanne King, associate director of marketing and communications at Queens Library. This year, 53,000 Queens kids enrolled in it, out of 200,000 participants citywide, King explained.
“Children who read over the summer retain more learning and do better when school resumes than children who don’t read,” said King, adding that summer reading can also help develop the habit of reading for pleasure.

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