New children’s coordinator at Woodstock Library looks after programs

Dawn Meola (photo by Dion Ogust)

The Woodstock Library’s Children’s Summer Reading Program continues its decades-long run under the new direction of Dawn Meola, Coordinator of Children’s Services. In addition to the Program’s traditional prizes of books and t-shirts, a wide range of children’s programming will take place throughout the months of July and August.

Meola, who took over as Coordinator of Children’s Services in March, has combined her experience as a program coordinator with her Educational Psychology background and her love of reading to create a colorful summer schedule for Woodstock’s young people. “I worked with children a little bit in the past, and I knew I liked working with children, but I didn’t realize how much I like working with children until I got this job,” said Meola. “I love feeling like I’m part of the community.”

According to Meola, the Summer Reading Program is important in preventing what is known as the “summer slide.” “Sometimes when kids don’t read as much over the summer, there can be a tendency for their reading comprehension to start to regress a little bit. Teachers often spend four to six weeks getting kids to relearn the stuff that they kind of regressed on over the summer. If kids read only four to six books over the summer, they can prevent the summer slide.”


The Summer Reading Program promotes a love of reading by “providing all kinds of events which will hopefully inspire kids to dive into different areas or act as a positive way of reinforcing reading in the summer. Another great way to help kids to read more is to provide adult role models. In the past couple of years we also have an adult summer reading program going on, so whole families can read together, or kids can observe adults doing a reading program,” said Meola.

The theme for this year’s Summer Reading Program is “Building a Better World.”

Many of the events scheduled to take place highlight this theme. One such event, the first-annual Bread Basket Derby, will take place Saturday, July 15 at 1 p.m. at the Woodstock Library. “How the Bread Basket Derby idea came about was that Bread Alone very generously donated a whole bunch of these blue bread baskets that they no longer needed, so we’re making them into cars. We’re going to decorate the cars, race the cars, and give prizes for whose car goes the furthest and whose is the most creative,” explained Meola.


More summer events for kids

Events continue with a musical performance for kids by Journey Blue Heaven and Just Kidding, to take place Friday, July 28 at 7 p.m. Children will be invited to sing, dance, and play instruments with the bands. “We have so many talented artists and musicians in Woodstock, so I’m getting a lot of [them] to offer workshops and performances for the kids,” said Meola.

One such event, the Summer Art Adventure, will take place Saturday, July 29 at 1 p.m. This two-part event is a collaboration with the Woodstock School of Art. “We’re providing the tuition for the students, and the Woodstock School of Art is providing the instructor,” said Meola. The first session will focus on paints and watercolors, while the second session, to take place August 12 at 1 p.m., will focus on three-dimensional objects.

Other events include a visit from the Animal Embassy on Saturday, August 12 at 11 a.m., which will feature live animals that build interesting homes; a drawing workshop with local legend Will Lytle of Thorneater Comics on Tuesday, August 8 at 4 p.m. and Tuesday, August 15 at 4 p.m.; a musical performance by Dog on Fleas on Friday, August 11 at 7 p.m.; and a three-day Spanish learning and piñata making workshop, which will take place Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, August 22-24 from 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m., as well as many other events.

The Summer Reading Program will culminate with a pizza party picnic and final prize drawing on Saturday, August 26. Grand prizes include gift certificates to Tinker Toys Too!, Mirabai of Woodstock, and Nancy’s of Woodstock Artisanal Creamery. Kids can sign up for the Reading Program at any point during the summer. “Anybody and everybody is welcome at the Library. I would invite everybody out there to come and visit the library and see all the great things we have to offer,” said Meola.

To view the full schedule of summer events at the Woodstock Library, visit Dawn Meola can be reached for questions at or at the Woodstock Library (845)679-2213. Please note that some events require pre-registration.