The Montclair Public Library will hold its ninth annual Little Read weekend on Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, a free children’s read-aloud marathon in a townwide celebration of literacy and community featuring public officials, authors, celebrities and local community members.

Research shows that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for promoting early literacy skills and language development. Each participant reads aloud in 10-minute slots scheduled throughout the two-day event, which is geared to children in pre-school through grade four.

Readings take place at locations throughout Montclair, with a wide variety of books for readers to choose from. This year, some of the readers will include Mayor Robert Jackson, Library Director Peter Coyl, and Fire Chief John Herrmann (with firefighters).

Funds raised through sponsorship of the Little Read support MPL’s Children’s Department and the Children’s Summer Reading Program.

The library has invited local pre-schools to the Bellevue Avenue Library during the morning of Friday, Oct. 20, to hear stories read by members of the community. Those attending include St. James Preschool, Lacordaire Academy, Pilsbury School and St. Cassian School.

Concurrently, the Montclair Community Pre-K and the Fulton Street location of the Montclair Child Development Center will hear stories at the Main Library. Beginning at 2 p.m., Montclair Public Library Foundation board members, Montclair Library Friends and library staff will read aloud at the Baldwin location of the Montclair Child Development Center.

The Little Read continues that evening from 7 to 8 at the Main Library with its traditional “Bedtime Stories” event. Children can eat cookies while Mayor Robert Jackson and Library Director Peter Coyl read from the “Big Red Chair.” The woodwind quartet from the Cali School of Music will perform “Peter and the Wolf.”

Saturday’s schedule

On Saturday, Oct. 21, at 11 a.m., Fire Chief John Herrmann and his firefighters will read aloud their favorite stories at the Upper Montclair Firehouse at 588 Valley Road.  The Little Read will continue at the Montclair Art Museum at 1 p.m. where little ones can hear stories read by Montclair Art Museum staff.

A new location this year is the Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation Community Center at 11 Pine St., where stories will be read from 2 to 3 p.m.

The day concludes at the Main Library, 50 South Fullerton Ave., from 3 to 5 p.m. with many of Montclair neighbors, writers, local heroes and celebrities. Applegate Farms will provide apple cider doughnuts for all children attending.