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The Morning Call – July 1953
The Bethlehem Public Library has become a marine wonderland for 726 youngsters presently exploring the adventures of the deep sea.
These young people, in kindergarten through ninth grade, are registered in the Summer Vacation Reading Club of the Children's Division, which this year centers its theme on "Diving to Adventure."
In order to enroll, each boy and girl must be a member of the library. After the youngster reads three books, he receives a "Frog Man" card, which is colored and then placed on the first board, designated as "Coral Reef."
After the next three books, he is presented with his equipment, namely the fins, snorkel mask and spear gun, which are placed on the back of his card.
From there on, after each three books, the club registrant is advanced to different boards. These include Oyster Boy, Lobster Pot, Porpoise Playground, Mermaid Rock, Neptune's Palace, Treasure Island, Seal Island, Sunken Hull, Octopus Cave, Sponge Sea, Shark Strait and Whirlpool.
More Reading Encouraged
Each member may have his choice of either moving to another board or receiving some little token for his card. This, according to Miss Valerie Puchinger, children's librarian, is a means of encouraging more reading.
After 90 books are read, the limit for the reading club, the youngster may enter "Davy Jones' Locker," the final board. At the end of the summer, all who have read six or more books will receive reading certificates.
Variety of Books
With the present trend of times for the younger set centering around the frog men and the sea, a number of books have been published for children on this particular theme. Each youngster chooses a book for his own age group or reading level.
Miss Puchinger reported that one of the most popular books is "Sea Animals and How to Draw Them," which delves into the chosen theme. Another book is "Treasure Island," which has been adapted for the younger set. There are also books on sea shells and how to classify them.
Other books being read by club members center around horses, dogs, mysteries, sports, biographies of the childhood of famous personages and space man stories. Many of the youngsters are also interested in rockets, jets and space travel, which were presented in last year's "Space Man" theme.
Ninety-book readers thus far this year are Donald Merwine and John Cooper. Nearing top place is Linda Gackenbach, who has only three more books to read to complete the list. Last year pupils of the Rosemont School led in the contest.
The contest will come to a close on Aug. 31, Miss Puchinger reported. As in previous years, youngsters are also being given the privilege of taking out 15 books for reading during vacations. These books must be returned to the library by Sept. 1.
Miss Puchinger, who resides In Allentown, became children's librarian in Bethlehem on June 15 of this year. She was graduated from Bethlehem Catholic High School in 1949, and received her bachelor of arts degree, majoring in library science, from Marywood College, Scranton, on May 31.
ON CORAL REEF — Youngsters of the Bethlehem Public Library Vacation Reading Club, Joe Shipp, 10-year-old son of Harry Shipp, 1018 Raymond Ave., Bethlehem, and Joan Hottle, seven-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hottle, 1410 Englewood St., Bethlehem, check reading cards on the "Coral Reef" board with Miss Valerie Puchinger, children's librarian. The club has been organized as an incentive for increased reading during the summer months, and is centering its theme on "Diving to Adventure."
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