HWS Partners with Geneva Literacy Event – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Partners with Geneva Literacy Event

Geneva Reads will host its seventh annual Book Fest event on Saturday, April 11 at the Geneva Community Center. With the theme of “Read, Sing, Play…Together Every Day!” the event will bring together Geneva’s children and community members, including HWS students, faculty and staff. The event will be free and open to the public.

Each year, HWS groups and clubs partner with local sponsors to bring the event to life. At the fest, organizations host tables throughout the Community Center Building and present children’s books to attendees. Every organization is asked to choose one book that is relevant to its mission and create fun, educational methods of presentation for the book.

“Whether it’s the Habitat for Humanity Club leading an activity on ‘The Three Little Pigs’ or an America Reads site helping children make monster puppets after reading ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ students are taking steps towards what being an involved community member is all about,” explains Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning Director Katie Flowers.

Flowers says that the event furthers the goals of Geneva 2020 by fostering ties with the community around the goal of literacy. The Colleges, in partnership with the city of Geneva, look to “do what they can to support the goal of Geneva Reads, which is embedded in the mission of HWS.”

Faculty members and students alike are invited to become involved in the Book Fest. For instance, Writing Colleagues Coordinator and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Instructor Alex Janney ’08 plans to host a table with her intermediate ESOL students to present diverse literary options.

“What I like about the Book Fest is how it connects students in my class who are coming from various countries with people in the Geneva community,” says Janney. “To me, the Book Fest is a space where the international students in my class can be empowered, educated, and involved in the Geneva Community; the benefits of the event are reciprocal in that community members are also educated.”

In addition to volunteers from the Colleges, the Book Fest will also be sponsored by various community organizations, including the Boys and Girl Scouts of America, Literacy Volunteers of Ontario-Yates, Happiness House and Geneva Historical Society.

“We completely depend on relationships we have with the community-at-large to run this event,” says Geneva Reads Outreach Coordinator Tanya Thompson. “We all come together at the Book Fest with our love of reading, learning, and growing as a community!”

The event, which is sponsored by the Geneva Reads, is intended to “inspire a culture of lifelong reading by providing books and creating shared experiences through dynamic community collaboration.”

“It gives families and friends a chance to spend time together joyfully reading and talking about books!” says Thompson. “Over the years, children have met famous authors and received many free books to build up their home libraries or to exchange for a new book on one of many red book shelves around town, another community program put in place by Geneva Reads.”