Librarian Wings It—Dances the “Chicken Dance” for Literacy

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Uses Stunt to Motivate Young Readers

Librarian Susan Scatena challenged her summer readers: if they read 2500 books, she will dress as a chicken and do the chicken dance on the library steps! The children were so anxious to see the spectacle, 355 children read more than 5,800 books!

Miss Susan was in fine feather today, and paid off her bet before a large audience.

Mister Marty of the Queens County Farm Museum brought a real chicken for the children to see, and told a little about her. The owner of the Kentucky Fried Chicken shop on Northern Boulevard and 152nd Street, Scott Waters, graciously donated enough chicken and fixings for 200, while McDonald's donated beverages.

The event was one of many incentives that librarians all over Queens used to encourage their summer readers to hit the books. Librarian Daniel Meyer at Queens Library at Kew Garden Hills shaved half his head and beard as a challenge. Teens who attended Queens Library at Woodhaven with Librarian Ken Gordon made their own horror movie, and posted it on YouTube ( Studies show that children who read over the summer do better when school resumes in the fall; additionally, they learn the joys of reading for pleasure. More than 44,000 children and teens registered to read at Queens Library. Creative staff members, like Susan Scatena, rack their brains all winter to find activities that will engage the imagination all summer.    

Miss Susan has a reputation to uphold. She annually issues challenges to the neighborhood kids with the promise of a wild stunt at the end of the summer. It has gained such popularity, Whitestone's children read 34% more books than last year. In the past, Miss Susan has sat in a tub of jello while the children dyed her hair purple, let them shoot her with silly string, and wore her jammies on the library steps while reading a bedtime story to a bunny.

Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library. The Queens Library serves a population of 2.3 million in the most ethnically diverse county in the U.S. With a record 23 million items in circulation for FY 2009, the Library has the highest circulation of any public library system in the U.S. and one of the highest circulations in the world. For more information about programs, services, locations, events and news, visit the Queens Library Web site at or phone 718-990-0700. Queens Library. Enrich Your Life (r).

Joanne King, Associate Director - Communications Queens Library
89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11432 718-990-0704; fax 718-291-2695

Queens Library. Enrich Your Life.(r)