Pint-sized pirates invaded the Enoch Pratt Free Library yesterday as it kicked off a vacation reading program: "Treasure . . . Find It at the Pratt Library This Summer."
As dozens of children, parents and librarians watched, children dressed as pirates swarmed into the children's department, captured library Director Carla Hayden, and demanded treasure. The librarians' message: The Pratt is full of treasure, books, videotapes, cassettes and more.
The library has offered summer reading programs since the 1940s, but this year's will be different, said Selma Levi, children's librarian at the central branch. The emphasis has shifted -- from having children compete to read the most books, to getting children to read for fun.
"There's no pressure, so every reader is a winner," Ms. Levi said.
Each branch will offer weekly activities in the program, which runs through July 31. Children can read jokes and riddles, make a spyglass or a pirate flag, or just listen to stories. The library will offer small prizes each week to encourage children to participate, and children can enter a drawing for a $50 savings bond from Maryland National Bank, a program sponsor.
The library also is offering a separate program for children aged 12 to 18. That program, called "Chillin' and Reading at the Pratt Library," will offer different prizes.
The children at yesterday's kickoff were eager to start.
Corey Felder, 9, said he likes to read because "I like learning about different places and states." Elizabeth Sivels, 8, said she likes "going inside books and having adventures."