Santa Clarita to host annual Literacy Festival


Alice Xie, Copy Editor

   After a year of online events and festivities, The City of Santa Clarita’s Newhall Library will be hosting its annual in-person Literacy Festival on Dec. 4, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to promote reading within the community. The event will feature activities fit for all ages, and there will be appearances from characters of fan favorite book series.

   Kendra Fitzpatrick, the City of Santa Clarita Public Libraries Volunteer Coordinator, explained, “The library puts together a celebration of literacy each year on the first Saturday of December to bring a festival of community and reading to the public. It invites the community to stop by and enjoy a showcase of the library and community partners from across the valley.”

   This year’s LitFest theme, “Adventure Awaits!,” will highlight the different continents and their cultures in different sections of the library. The teen section of the library will focus on Asia; there will be traditional decorations, food and activities that reflect the theme. A presentational booth will also be set up by the Santa Clarita based organization Dear Asian Youth to promote the education of all Asian countries and cultures.

   Sana Meher, a junior at West Ranch and a member of the library’s Teen Advisory Board, explained the significance of this diverse and inclusive theme: “LitFest is an opportunity for all countries, especially those that are underrepresented, like central Asian countries and North Asian countries, to have a spot in the room so people can learn about them and understand that that too is Asia.”

   Throughout the day, there will also be scheduled events occurring at regular intervals on the performance stage, and other activities will be scattered around the library.

   “There will be three or more ‘adventure’ themed activities or crafts available in each section of the library and outside, the parking lot will be transformed into a festival of community resources—each with their own booth and special activity,” Fitzpatrick explained.

   For those looking to take some memorable photos, not only will characters be roaming around the library available for interaction, but part of the library will be decorated with snow and ice to mimic the poles.

   While one aim of the festival is to teach children and teens about diverse traditions, the focal point of LitFest is to “celebrate reading and library use for all ages,” as Fitzpatrick said. With advances in technology and screen time increasingly taking over schoolchildrens’ lives, the library aims to reignite the joy of reading by showcasing their selection of books and encouraging use of the space.

   AP English Literature and Composition teacher Mrs. Frame understands the importance of reading. “Reading is transformative. The more you read, the more your world expands, which helps build empathy, curiosity, and the ability to view the world with kindness instead of judgement.”

   With COVID halting many of the library’s events last year, those helping to set up the LitFest are anticipating a good turnout. “I hope a lot of people turnout, especially younger people, mainly because we have Dear Asian Youth involved and we have the library involved, and those are two great opportunities for people who are teens to get involved in the community,” Meher added.

   Mrs. Frame emphasized the benefits of attending such an event: “For students who are passionate about reading, it could be their personal Disneyland! Having a concentrated collection of folks who have the same passion about the same interest often fuels that passion even more. For younger students, they may find the book that sparks a lifetime of reading.”

   Wildcats, if you’re looking for a fun event to partake in this winter season, make sure to mark LitFest on Dec. 4 in your calendar!