MOEOSCOIPE

Earle Library partners with AETN for Mr. Rogers’ Sweater Drive

Statewide effort to keep Arkansans in need warm this winter returns

ralphhardin@gmail.com Don’t let the recent warmer temperatures fool you. Winter is coming, and for many, having something warm to wear isn’t a guarantee.

To address that need, once again, the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) and the Earle Public Library have partnered to sponsor a commuitywide effort to clothe those in need. The Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive is back. The drive serves as a tribute to Fred Rogers, star of the longtime PBS favorite, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” and his example of being a caring neighbor. The drive runs through the end of December.

Members of the community are asked to donate new or gently worn sweaters at Earle Public Library, 703 Commerce Street. A receptacle to collect the sweaters will be located prominently within the library. Sweaters collected in this drive will be distributed locally by the Good Neighbor-Love Center.

The Earle Public Library is one of more than 30 libraries across Arkansas participating in this year's statewide Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive. A complete list of libraries and additional information is available at aetn.org/sweaterdrive.

“The Earle Public Library Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive is a wonderful way to reach out and help neighbors in need in our community and across Arkansas,” said Earle Branch Librarian P.J.

Cox. “We had a great response to our drive last year and are so pleased to have even more parents who are joining us to support our 2017 effort.

“We are especially happy to have the opportunity to introduce new members of The PenPal Readers, their families and Earle's young community members to Fred Rogers and his legacy. His mild and reassuring manner built up children's neighborly spirits by encouraging them to work to- gether and give of their time. Earle is proud to carry on this important mission by serving our community and the Good Neighbor-Love Center.”

This is the fourth year for the statewide Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive. In 2016, 32 libraries participated and collected more than 5,000 sweaters.

To help set the tone for a “comfortable” visit with his young viewers, Rogers put on a sweater and changed into sneakers as a way to help children settle in for “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.” All of Rogers' original sweaters were knitted by his mother, Nancy McFeely Rogers. Each year, she knitted a dozen sweaters and gave them to family and close friends at Christmas.

Over the course of more than 40 years, “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,” PBS' longest-running children's series, earned four Daytime Emmys. As a testament to his legacy, Rogers received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 and was recognized in 2002 with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, for his contributions to children's development and education using broadcast television.

The Fred Rogers Company was founded by Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood” for PBS. In the years that followed, it not only created hundreds of episodes, but it also extended Rogers' values and approach to other efforts in promoting children's social, emotional and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children.

The Fred Rogers Company continues to build on his legacy through a wide variety of media and by engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom. Additional information is available at FredRogers.org.

The Arkansas State Library provides the resources, services and leadership necessary to meet the educational, informational and cultural needs of the citizens of Arkansas, and provides guidance and support for the development of local public libraries and library services. For more information on the library's services, visit library.arkansas.gov.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network is Arkansas's only statewide public media network, which enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life.

AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through the distinct channels AETN PBS, AETN Create, AETN PBS KIDS, AETN World and AETN AIRS on SAP.

Audiences can also watch on several digital platforms, and members with AETN Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming.

AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at aetn.org. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia),

KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).

By Ralph Hardin

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