On your mark, get set, read at Lynn Public Library

Five-year-old Jayson Pereira, of Lynn, checks out the new bike he won in a raffle at the Lynn Public Library. Photo by Paula Muller

By Gayla Cawley

LYNN — On your mark, get set, read.

That’s the theme of this summer’s statewide reading program and fit nicely with Lynn Public Library’s bike giveaway Thursday.

“I was just very excited because I really needed a new bike,” said 9-year-old Sadiejon Galland, who won a new bike. “My old one is starting to fall apart a lot.”

Ten bicycles and two big wheels were distributed as part of the Read and Ride program of the Grand Lodge Knights of Pythias of Massachusetts.

The group donated 36 bikes to children from six different libraries through a raffle, with six of those given to young Lynn library patrons. Friends of the Lynn Public Library pitched in and donated four bikes, two big wheels and helmets. Friends paid $500, but the lodge members didn’t know the amount they spent, saying they got a good deal from Toys R’ Us.

Everyone who turned in the summer reading log was entered into the raffle and eligible for a bike, said Sue Cronin, head of the children’s department at the library.

“Any inducement to get them to read is a benefit to them, their family and their town,” said Joseph Haskell, grand chancellor of the lodge.

Haskell said the Texas lodge started the read and ride program, and his chapter latched onto the idea and started a pilot program in Massachusetts last year with one library. It was expanded this summer. He hopes to double the libraries participating next year.

Bikes were given to one boy and girl from each grade from first to fifth, with the big wheels given to younger children. Friends of the Lynn Public Library also plans to continue their role each year, said its president, Mal Marsello.

Denzel Ancrum, 8, of Lynn, said he was surprised to win a new bike. His mother, Tarsha Richards, said the program is wonderful opportunity for the kids.

“I’m just completely grateful,” Richards said.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

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