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RIF event underway at library
Volunteers can sign up now through May 14 to read to a child
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Nevils Elementary School second grader Hailey Warnell, 8, right, peruses the book selections with classmates for Tuesday's RIF event to kick off the summer reading program at the Statesboro Regional Library. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    Now in its third decade, the annual Reading Is FUNdamental (RIF) event began Monday at the Statesboro Regional Library.
    Volunteers are welcome to sign up now through May 14, to read to a child during the spring book distribution. About 4,000 children from Pre-K through second grade throughout the library's five-county service area are expected to visit the library during RIF. The kids will watch a funny, original puppet show and choose a book to keep. An additional 2,000 children will receive books on-site at area preschools.
    According to Elaine McDuffie, RIF Coordinator for 22 years and Head of Youth and Family Services, RIF book distributions continue to operate in much the same way as the beginning of the program.  
    “But each year is different,” she said. “As soon as we get the theme for the Summer Reading Program, we start to plan how we will decorate the library. Some years we keep it simple, but sometimes the decorations are delightfully elaborate. This year, we have a new staff member who has brought considerable creative talent and skill to our team, and I'm sure the children will be thrilled to see what she's done.”
    Beth Hanna is the newest member of the staff of the Youth and Family Services Department, and she has worked with other staff to decorate the Community Room, creating a display of colorful images.
    Hanna taught school for many years, and she brings her experience working with young children to her new position.  
    “As a teacher, I encouraged my students to read and discover new books,” she said. ”The RIF book distributions provide the children of our community with many more opportunities to discover the joy of reading.”
    Also, In December 2009, the RIF program at the Statesboro Regional Library was recognized as one of the outstanding RIF programs in the United States.  
    “One of the reasons our program is so successful,” McDuffie said, “is our volunteers. We could not provide a program of this magnitude without the parents, teachers, media specialists and other community members who so generously give their time to the library.”
    To sign up as a RIF Reader, call McDuffie or Hanna at 764-1344, or come by the library during regular hours.