Longo Returning to Manatee County Public Libraries

Rays' Third Baseman to Promote Reading With the Rays Program


MANATEE COUNTY, FL (May 19, 2016) – Manatee County Public Libraries announced today the return of Tampa Bay Rays Third Baseman, Evan Longoria, to its Downtown Central Library on Friday, June 17.



Last June Longoria welcomed a crowd of more than 1,200 at Downtown Library to kick off the Reading With the Rays—“Read Your Way to the Ballpark” program, presented by the Suncoast Credit Union. This year, Longoria plans to make a repeat performance. 


As the spokesperson for the Reading With the Rays Program for the past four years, Longoria visits two participating libraries (those in the counties of Charlotte, Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota) each year. He reads a few short books, discusses the importance of reading, asks a few trivia questions and hands out prizes. 


“We are thrilled to welcome Evan back. Last year, he created a great deal of enthusiasm among attendees, resulting in over 1,000 children who stayed after the event to sign up for the program,” said Ava Ehde, Library Services Manager.


Reading With the Rays is an incentive-based program to encourage children to visit the library and read over the nine-week summer break. All children in Kindergarten through Grade 12 are eligible to participate. Participants receive a game card, track their reading hours which are initialed by a parent/guardian and collect rewards at their local library along the way. The ultimate prize is two tickets to a Rays’ home game, achieved by reading a total of 24 hours.


“Having a well-known celebrity come into the library to endorse reading makes a phenomenal difference. We end up getting people in who have never been to any of our libraries or haven’t been to one for awhile. It’s an opportunity to build more awareness about the vast programs and resources we have available to them all year,” said Ehde.


The Read Your Way to the Ballpark program information, game cards and prizes are available at all six Manatee County libraries. In addition to this reading program, this summer Manatee County Public Libraries is offering “Reading Wars” where Tweens (ages 8 to 12) are encouraged to complete 10 reading activities throughout the summer with the prize being a bash held at Downtown Library on August 3.


Longoria is expected to be at Downtown Library between 11 and 11:30 a.m. Also making an appearance once again will be DJ Kitty. Rays representatives will provide pre-event games. Downtown Library is located at 1301 Barcarrota Boulevard West, Bradenton, 34205 (along Riverwalk).


More information about the Reading with the Rays Summer program can be found by going to raysbaseball.com/reading.


About the Manatee County Public  Library System: The Florida Library Association’s 2016 Library of Year and 2013 Library Innovation winner, the Manatee County Public Library System supports the County’s growing community and visitors through a wide range of educational and technological resources and programs at six facilities in downtown Bradenton (Riverwalk), the east county region, the south county area, Holmes Beach, Palmetto and Ellenton. Last year, the Library System was visited by nearly 850,000 customers who made use of its resources over 3.7 million times (a record high) and provided 2,000 informational and educational programs which served an estimated 47,000 customers. For more information, call Downtown Library at (941) 748-5555, ext. 6307. For more information on Manatee County Public Library System, visit mymanatee.org/library, follow them at facebook.com/MCPLS or twitter @manalibraries. For more information about Manatee County Government, call 941-748-4501 or visit mymanatee.org, facebook.com/manatee.county.fl or twitter @ManateeGov


About Suncoast Credit Union: Suncoast Credit Union is the largest credit union in the state of Florida, the eighth largest in the United States based on membership and the fourtheenth largest in the United States based on its $7.5 billion in assets. Chartered in 1934 as Hillsborough County Teachers Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union currently operates 60 full-service branches and serves more than 704,389 members in the following Florida counties: Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Dixie, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter. Since its founding in 1992, the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation has raised and donated over $16 million to organizations and initiatives that support the health, education and emotional well-being of children in the communities that the credit union serves. For more information visit: suncoastcreditunion.com, facebook.com/SuncoastCreditUnion or @SuncoastCU.


About the Tampa Bay Rays: The Tampa Bay Rays mission is to energize the community through the magic of Rays baseball. The organization is committed to building a strong community bond through meaningful interactions and charitable donations and has proudly represented Major League Baseball since 1998.