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Bruins mascot boosts reading at Sunderland library

  • Boston Bruins mascot, Blades, visited with and encouraged kids to read during an event put on by the Sunderland Public Library for its summer reading program. RECORDER STAFF/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Boston Bruins mascot, Blades, visited with and encouraged kids to read during an event put on by the Sunderland Public Library for its summer reading program. RECORDER STAFF/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Boston Bruins mascot, Blades, visited with and encouraged kids to read during an event put on by the Sunderland Public Library for its summer reading program. RECORDER STAFF/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Boston Bruins mascot, Blades, visited with and encouraged kids to read during an event put on by the Sunderland Public Library for its summer reading program. RECORDER STAFF/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Boston Bruins mascot, Blades, visited with and encouraged kids to read during an event put on by the Sunderland Public Library for its summer reading program. RECORDER STAFF/ANDY CASTILLO



For the Gazette
Monday, August 01, 2016

SUNDERLAND — A bear was in the public library Wednesday evening around 6 p.m., but he wasn’t looking for trouble.

The Boston Bruins mascot, Blades, met with about a dozen youngsters, posed for pictures and led a game of volleyball, all to encourage children to read.

“It’s all about having fun, and finding other ways to have fun besides watching TV,” said Katherine Hand, library director, about the state summer reading program that enabled Blades to come to Franklin County.

This year, Hand said the theme is “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” The aim of Wednesday’s visit with the Bruins bear was to reach youngsters who might not come to the library ordinarily, and to encourage physical fitness among youth.

“Every year libraries apply to have the Bruins mascot come,” said Celeste Bruno, of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. “It brings in a lot of ‘reluctant readers.’”

Bruno said the Bruins partnership with state libraries began in 2009, a time when the board was struggling financially. The Boston hockey team puts on the events for free. By the end of this year, she continued, Blades will have visited eight libraries.

During the event, children heard the story about how Blades became a Bruin, had the chance to win prizes by answering trivia questions and participated in arts and crafts.

“It’s fun, but we also have the education piece,” Bruno said. “Kids who read over the summer avoid the ‘summer slide.’”

The youngsters also were given a list of books the Bruins players like best, and a list of books about hockey put together by librarians.

According to the list, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara’s favorite are “My Little Pony” books, which Bruno said is because he has daughters, and goaltender Tuukka Rask’s favorite book is “Good Night Moon.”

The summer reading program runs from June through the end of July.