Leon County libraries kicked off the National Summer Reading program with "Hero Day" at the LeRoy Collins Library on Monday to encourage children to read more this summer.
Cay Hohmeister, Director of the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System, said that summer reading is crucial towards retaining the skills that are learned throughout the school year.
"We participate in this every year and have done so for many years to keep children reading during the summer," said Hohmeister. "It's a program that is extended to teens and adults as well. We want families to learn to read and grow together."
Volunteers from the Leon County Sheriff’s Department SWAT division, Emergency Management Services Department, Leon County Animal Control and other service departments participated in this year's "Every Hero Has A Story" themed event.
"I think that it's important for children to understand that the heroes they read about in the books are real people too," said Hohmeister. "That fireman that is showing you his firetruck is dedicated to saving lives and could be the parent of someone they know."
Parents browsed tables filled with pamphlets and were able to purchase t-shirts while the children jumped in the bounce house, enjoyed complimentary ice-cream and explored the parked SWAT vehicle.
Leon County Sheriff's Department SWAT division Sergeant, Fred Smelt, was excited about the opportunity to talk to the children about his job.
"We're here to educate the community about SWAT," said Smelt. "We are the 911 for the police or any other law enforcement group that gets into trouble."
Kevin Peters, Emergency Management Services Director worked on developing the Leon County 2015 Hurricane Preparedness Guide. Hurricane Season began June 1.
"We really want to focus on hurricane preparedness," said Peters. "In our area the potential for flash flooding due to heavy rain is intensified and my job is to make sure the public is prepared for it."
For more information about the Summer Reading Program contact the Leon County Library at (850) 606-2665