Longo to Make Third Visit to Downtown Library to Promote Summer Reading With the Rays Program

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (May 16, 2017) – For Manatee County Public Libraries, three is a lucky number when it comes to baseball. Rays’ Third Baseman Evan Longoria will make a third appearance at Manatee County Downtown Library Friday, June 9.


As the spokesperson for Reading With the Rays’ “Read Your Way to the Ballpark” Summer Program, presented by the Suncoast Credit Union, Longoria visits a couple of libraries each year to encourage kids to visit the library often and read more before returning to school in the fall. Longoria appeared to large crowds of 1,000 or more at Downtown Library in both 2015 and 2016.


Library Services Manager, Ava Ehde, said Manatee Libraries’ Youth Services Team works hard to provide a wide range of programming over the summer like this event to try to connect children with the right book to get them hooked on reading.


“Evan Longoria is a big

 draw, and we appreciate his time and commitment to encouraging kids to come into our libraries and explore our many educational resources,” said Ehde. “This helps to pique children’s interests about various subjects, keep them stimulated and read at least six books to combat summer slide.”


All children in grades Kindergarten through 12 in Charlotte, Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties are eligible to participate in this program. Game cards can be picked up at any of Manatee Libraries’ six locations. Participants can keep track of what they read on the game card, and after reading a certain number of hours, reach a base and collect a prize at your local library. The ultimate prize is two tickets to a Rays’ game at Tropicana field, achieved by reading a total of 24 hours.


This year’s prizes are as follows: First Base (3 hours), Rays Jelly Bracelet; Second Base (5 hours more), Rays Arm Sleeve; Third Base (7 hours more), Rays Water Bottle; Home Plate (9 hours more), voucher for two tickets to a Rays home game.

Although kids can read any book that interests them, The Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education publication, which is distributed to elementary students in the counties that participate in the Reading With the Rays Program, provides suggested reading for students in Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. Reading suggestions for middle and high school students can be found at tampabay.com/nie/raysreading. The NIE

 publication lists Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer as a Longoria recommendation (having recently read this to his kids), but Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are was one of his favorite books as a kid.


In addition to this reading program, this summer Manatee County Public Libraries is offering a Harry Potter “Choose a House” Reading Club where Tweens (ages 8 to 12) who complete three activities can enter a drawing (prizes vary by location). Manatee Libraries’ summer programming also includes weekly robotics and coding classes, astronomy programs (including binoculars and telescopes available for checkout), performances (e.g. Didgeridoo Down Under, Tampa Taiko Japanese Drumming, Surapsari Mask Dance, Asolo Rep Theatre Education & Outreach, Bits ‘N Pieces Puppet Theatre), animal and nature shows, FanFiction Meet Ups, gaming, teen writing workshops, sewing classes and a long list of art classes. A Manatee Libraries' Summer Program Guide can be picked up at any of the libraries or downloaded at mymanatee.org/library.


Longoria is expected to be at Downtown Library between 11 and 11:30 a.m. He normally reads a few short books, discusses the importance of reading, asks a few trivia questions and hands out prizes.  Also making an appearance again will be DJ Kitty. Rays representatives plan to 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.


For more information, please contact Kelly Foster, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator, at 941-748-5555, ext. 6307.


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. This past year, Manatee Libraries was visited by nearly 850,000 customers who made use of its resources over 3.9 million times (a record high). Downloads of their digital ebook/eaudio/movies have continued to double each year, while technical training and computer assistance were up 16%. The 47,000 customers who attended their wide variety of informational and educational programs and events reflect an increase of 130% since 2006. 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 and instragram @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 ninth largest in the United States based on membership and the twelfth largest in the United States based on its more than $8 billion in assets. Chartered in 1934 as Hillsborough County Teachers Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union currently operates 62 full-service branches and serves approximately 700,000 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 1990, the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation has raised and donated more than $19 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.


About The Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education (NIE) Program: A cooperative effort between schools and the Times Publishing Company, the NIE promotes the use of newspapers in print and electronic form as educational resources. Since the Mid-1970s, NIE has provided schools with class sets of the Times free of charge. For more information, go to tampabay.com/nie or follow them on Twitter at TBTimesNIE.