By Chris Frost
Oxnard— National Library Week was off and running at the Oxnard Public Library, April 8, as members of the Oxnard Police Department stopped by to read stories to the children and share in the fun that reading offers to everyone.
National Library Week got started in 1958 and is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries across the United States.
Children’s Librarian Vanessa Chua led the fun and offered them programs kids like, balloon art by Gloria, and she had parents fill out surveys before they left, so the staff knows what to offer in the future.
Detective Jacob Jundef read to the children first and said he’s been a police officer for almost 13 years and read a book called “Do Something in your Community.”
“You can make a difference in your community by doing something to make it a better place to live,” he read. “When you do something to help others, you are making a difference.”
He said doctors Thomas and Ortega want to help sick people, and that is why they became doctors.
“Mr. Peters wants to help kids get better grades, so he tutors kids after school is over in the afternoon,” Jundef said. “There are many ways you can make a difference in your community. What would you like to do?”
Homicide Detective Miguel Serrato brought a bunch of stickers to the party and gave any child who told him their name a sticker.
“If you guys take anything from today, it’s reading,” he said. “Reading is important. I remember when I went to school, I didn’t like to read and guess what I did when they asked me to read a book? I used to pick books that they already made movies out of, but I cheated myself doing that.”
He told the kids that reading is the most important thing they’ll do as children.
“It will make you guys that much smarter,” he said.
His selection was entitled “It’s a Book.”
“What do you have there; it’s a book,” he read. “How do you scroll down? I don’t. I turn the page.”
They asked if they blog it, but they don’t because it’s a book.
“Where is your mouse,” he asked. Can you make the characters fight? No; it’s a book.”
Detective Robert Valenzuela told the kids that he is a policeman, but when he works upstairs, he has a different uniform.
“We don’t have our police patches on our shirts, but we have our badges and handcuffs and a gun if we ever have to use it to help; somebody,” he said.
Valenzuela read a book called “All are Welcome,” and he asked the kids what they notice when they look at themselves.
“When we look at each other, do we all look the same and look like we come from the same family,” he asked. “Did we all grow in different houses and grow up in different places.”
He said that everywhere they go, they are always welcome.
“We treat each other with kindness and respect,” he said. “You should always feel safe where you go.”
The book jumped right off and said pencils sharpened, in their case, bells are ringing, let’s make haste.
“In our classrooms, safe and sound, fears are lost, and hope is found,” he read. “Raise your hat; we’ll go around; we all are welcome here.”
Before they left, the officers ran a skewer through three balloons, and they did not pop because they were trick balloons.
After the show, Serrato said the thing he likes the most is seeing the kids learn and do new things.
“When you come tell kids how important reading is; hopefully, they’ll take it to heart and become readers,” he said.
Ruben Tellez said he enjoyed the show and liked the light in his lightsaber.
“I love the books at the library,” he said.
Mom Elizabeth said she brought her son to have fun and learn.
“The balloons are for kids,” she laughed.
Chua said she loves seeing all the kids having fun.
“They especially enjoy the officers reading books to kids,” she said. “We don’t have that many kids, but it is great.”
She always tries to involve community leaders at the library, she said, and Community Affairs Manager Melissa Valdez is ready to help.
“I asked her to come and shew always is willing to participate,” Chua said.