CORNELIUS – The Cornelius Public Library was abuzz Aug. 20 as youngsters celebrated a visit by the Hornets’ basketball team mascot, Hugo.
Along with getting people pumped up for the upcoming basketball season and the return of the previous Charlotte basketball team namesake, Hugo and his friends had another message for attendees, ages pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. He wanted them to start a reading revolution.
“There are many ways to define a revolution,” said Hornets Bus Show Emcee Tom Hill, who goes by the stage name Justin Case and was joined by Duward Lee Whitlow. “We think it’s a major change in the way you think and ‘bee-have.’ ... If you don’t read every day you are holding yourself back from being a better person.”
Hill, with the help of his energetic silent partner Hugo, demonstrated ways to join that revolution by making reading a daily habit; reading during free moments; looking to teachers, parents and librarians as reading role models; and creating a personal place to read.
“I loved it when Hugo pretended to be a fashion model and when he sprayed Silly String,” said rising fourth-grader Vaidehi Kumar when asked what she liked about the program. “I read every day and I wanted to see what the Reading Revolution is about and how to join.”
Hugo’s Reading Revolution program is through the Charlotte Hornets’ Excellence in Education initiative to emphasize the value of reading.
“We want to explore every opportunity we can to reach out and touch the community,” Hill said. “They don’t have to come to a game. They don’t have to just be in school. We want to be as involved in our community as we can.”
The program also visited North County Regional in Huntersville.
“This is a fun program to host in our libraries, and the message about the value of reading is definitely one that we share,” said Sarah Goldstein, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's branch marketing specialist. “As we head back to school this month, it's a good time to remember that reading at home can help you do better in school.”
Hugo isn’t the first mascot to come to the library for initiatives like this.
Opening the Aug. 20 program, was a video tribute to Rufus Lynx, who previously visited area schools and libraries to represent the Charlotte Bobcats and is now “retiring.”