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Reading Extravaganza offers more than books

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Summer Reading Extravaganza on Sunday promotes the joy of books, reading and literacy, but there is plenty more to enjoy, organizers say.

The free event, which will be on the lawn at the Oakland library, features everything from storytelling, book-readings, book sales and kids movies to puppet shows, video games, live music, and arts-and-crafts projects. Visitors also will get free food and drinks, and can visit with two Pittsburgh-area mascots: the Steelers' Steely McBeam, and Kennywood's Kenny Kangaroo.

"It's such a variety," Sara Werner says. She is the manager of events and programs for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system. "There's something for everyone. ... Everyone who wants to come can come. It totally encompasses the whole community. No one's excluded at all."

Summer Reading Extravaganza, which is in its eighth year, "gets bigger and bigger every year," Werner says. Last year, the event drew about 4,000 people, and library officials are expecting at least that many this year, and, hopefully, 4,500 or more. Visitors are welcome to bring blankets and chairs and camp out on the lawn of nearby Schenley Plaza, where some of the individual activities are held, she says.

Other features of the event will include tea and crafts, a climbing wall, magic by magician Eddie Ace, decorating Smiley Cookies from Eat 'n Park, and music, games and prizes themed around the Disney Channel movie "Camp Rock." The Citiparks Roving Art Cart also will offer crafts activities.

Summer Reading Extravaganza promotes the library's summer reading program, which provides a list of suggested books to read during summer for youths and adults, Werner says.

"It's to get people excited about summer reading," she says. "It helps kids keep up in school for the next year. Kids who read in the summer are more prepared to go back to school in the fall."

Additional Information:

Summer Reading Extravaganza

When: Noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Rain or shine

Admission: Free. Hot dogs, beverages and other refreshments also are free.

Where: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main Library , 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Most activities take place on the library's lawn, but some -- like the puppet shows -- are inside. Parking in the library's garage will cost $5.

Details: 412-622-3114

Schedule of events includes:

&#149 Folk music with the Balkan Babes, 12:45 p.m.

&#149 'Bug Tales' for infants and toddlers: 1, 2 and 4 p.m.

&#149 Story sharing with Katherine Ayres, author of 'Up, Down and Around,' 1:15 p.m.

&#149 'Anansi the Spider' puppet shows, 1:30 and 3 p.m.

&#149 Temujin, master storyteller, 2 p.m.

&#149 Flute and piano performances by library staff members, 2 p.m.

&#149 Frick Steel Drum Band, 2:15 p.m.

&#149 'Green Eggs and Ham' by Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, 3 p.m.

&#149 Greg Kenney, historical re-enactor about Pittsburgh sports, 3:15 p.m.

&#149 'Insect Odyssey' by Ray Owen, 4 p.m.

&#149 'The Balloonatic Fringe,' 4:15 p.m.

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