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Statesboro Regional Library celebrates 30 years of RIF
Public invited to read to a child during book distribution
RIF kickoff cut Web
The past, present and future of RIF in Statesboro and Bulloch County are represented in parents Crystal and Isaac McDuffie, former RIF kids, and their two daughters, Kailyn and Kelsey, sharing the love of reading. The books they are holding are Isaac’s from his own RIF days. - photo by Special
    Statesboro Regional Library’s Reading Is FUNdamental program turns 30 this year. RIF has brought books, reading and fun together for the children of Statesboro and Bulloch County since 1979.
    For two weeks beginning Friday and ending May 15 the public is invited to join in by signing up to read to a child during spring book distribution. During this time, almost 4,000 children from Pre-K through second grade will visit the library, see an original puppet show and get to choose a book to keep. An additional 1,000 children will receive books on-site at area preschools.
    According to Elaine McDuffie, RIF coordinator at the library for 20 years, RIF book distributions continue to operate in much the same way as the beginning of the program.
    “One difference is that today we are seeing the second generation of ‘RIF Kids,’” she said. “We have many parents who remember their own first library experiences, and are eager to share this wonderful time with their own children.”
    Wynne Phillips, a Statesboro High School student, remembers her RIF experiences first as a young child at Nevils Elementary choosing books and later  working as a RIF volunteer at the library. Wynne still enjoys reading, whether learning new concepts for classes or reading the latest in the “Twilight” series for fun.
    RIF is a federally-funded program which has its roots in Washington, D.C., where a former teacher discovered the children she was tutoring had never owned a book. In 1975, Congress created the “Inexpensive Book Distribution Program” (IBDP) which provides federal matching funds to sites that qualify. The local share for this grant comes from United Way of Southeast Georgia, parent organizations and private and civic contributions. This commitment of local support keeps the program strong and encourages community involvement.
    McDuffie said, “Our volunteers are the backbone of Statesboro Regional Library’s RIF program, and many have contributed significantly to its success. 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 Jessica Garner at (912)764-1346 or come by the library during business hours.
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