“Whenever I went to a library as a child, I never borrowed a book. I was more interested in exploring the library than actually reading books. I grew up with the idea that a library was just a weirdly quiet ocean filled with waves of books. I honestly did not know what to think when I signed up to volunteer at the Sheepshead Bay Library two years ago.

However, what I saw was not a place of gloom and boredom, it was a place of culture and love. What I never expected to see was a loving community of staff, volunteers, teens, children, toddlers, SYEP participants, program participants and patrons. I am so happy that I get the opportunity to work at Sheepshead Bay Library again. I was surprised to see the many exciting, informational, and cultural programs and events for everyone in the community. Everyday I come to the library to join other teens for summer reading, I see kids enjoying their books and pleading their parents for five more minutes. I see children eating the free lunches and writing book reviews for the Summer Reading program. I see the staff and patrons interacting through the many programs and activities that we have. Everyday, I see the smiles on everyone’s faces.

Summer Reading 2018 really changed my life. I usually never read in the summer. However, because of the Summer Reading 2018 program provided by Brooklyn Public Library and Beanstack, I found myself reading more than I ever had before. Surprisingly, I found myself enjoying the books and wanting to read more. I was also extremely excited to share my reading experience on Beanstack.

I would like to thank everyone at Sheepshead Bay Library for being so accepting  and so friendly. I hope that this library will continue to prosper and grow and that the community will forever be so lively and lovely.” – Peggie Liang, age 17

True Life Story:

Ray Lewis learned some hard lessons very early in life. Born in Manhattan and raised in a single family household, at the age of 13, Ray’s life changed dramatically. Due to a fight one evening, Ray was sentenced to five years in a residential lock up facility. His brother had been incarcerated as well and Ray soon learned that this was the life that he was meant to live. When Ray turned 18, he participated in a 20-week Energy Warriors Course provided through a partnership with the Office of Children and Family Services, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, and the SEAT Center. Energy Warriors gave him insight into weatherization and energy efficiency practices. As he became eligible to leave the residential facility, Ray transitioned to the city of Schenectady and began college at Schenectady County Community College, working on a degree in Business Administration. Making the transition to Schenectady was manageable with the knowledge that he has the ongoing support of SEAT Center. He currently receives support with employment, tutoring and mentoring and knows that he has a family at SEAT who believes in him and is there to support him.

Shawnyce dreamed of being a health care provider and when she came to SEAT, she had no idea how this dream would become a reality! Shawnyce successfully completed the YouthBuild program, although she continues to work hard to pass her GED exam. She completed a successful internship at Mohawk Ambulance Services, and the staff loved her work ethic and positive attitude! Rather than waiting for her to pass the GED exam, they decided to hire her immediately as an Administrative Assistant and the entire team surprised her and attended her YouthBuild graduation! They believe in her goals and dreams and are a top workforce partner for the SEAT Center.

Visit Brooklyn Public Library to find out more about the Summer Reading Program.          

​Read this mother’s testimony of how her children’s lives are transformed as they improve their reading skills.

The programs offered at the library have guided us. It has been two years since the kids started reading books in English, enjoying the activities at the library and sharing their knowledge with their friends back home. It has given them the confidence to continue learning and to be open to others.                

Summer Reading Program.

Alijah could have cared less about his future, but through the support of his mother, and unexpectedly meeting the President of Schenectady County Community College, his life was transformed. Alijah made the decision to SHOW UP! and successfully passed his GED, is enrolled as a college student at SCCC, and presents his story and the impact of YouthBuild at SEAT Center sponsored events. As Alijah stated, “I just want to thank my mom for pushing me to finish school and for being that inspiration in my life and showing me that it’s never too late to be successful. I want to thank the staff at SEAT for helping me realize the potential I never thought I had. Last, but not least, I want to thank my cycle. While I know we didn’t always see eye to eye, you all showed me the true meaning of family and for that I just want to acknowledge, WE DID IT!”

for its support of the


“It was hard for me to read big books. Mom and the librarian helped me. I got the idea to draw a summary and later write about it. After that I started reading and reading alone. It is fun doing all the categories [on the Summer Reading game board]. I volunteered, invented a doll and music instrument, wrote songs and played.”




“I love reading, playing with the computers, doing arts and crafts, and building with Legos. The first summary I prepared for the reading competition was so hard but when I continued reading and doing summaries it became easier and faster. I loved the invention category and I enjoyed sharing with others and getting likes 

[on the Beanstack website].” 

True Life Story:

Two years ago I came to New York from Lebanon with my husband and my twin children, Aya and Iwan. They were 6 years old at the time. English was their third language and they used to take class a few hours a week.

The first thing we located in our neighborhood was the library. With the help of a wonderful librarian team, the kids quickly felt at home and loved the place.

The librarians helped us choose books and the kids started reading in English. It was hard at the beginning but with the help of the variety of programs my kids were excited to come to the library, read and play.

We left New York for home in early 2017 but came back in June for a two month visit. The first thing the kids asked was, “Can we go to the library, please, please, pleaaaase?” This time they were more confident to choose the books they liked.

The librarian told me about the Summer Reading program and the kids once again were excited to take part.