1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Bourbon PL Director, Heather Barron_webI recently visited with Heather Barron, Director of the Bourbon Public Library. Bourbon Public Library is a lively branch bustling with activities. During the visit, I chatted with Heather about the library and the unique challenges and opportunities of working in a small branch; while talking, I found out about a wonderful program, 1000 books before kindergarten that they are involved with. This program helps to establish reading habits and comprehension for young readers.  

Kim: Can you give some background on how the program was created?

Heather: I saw the program offered by other libraries and knew that it was something we needed to bring to our community. From there it was a matter of researching how various other libraries executed the program and finding what would work for us. Since we started in January of 2011, we have had 57 kids complete the program! That’s 57,000 books read before they have even started school! What a wonderful educational advantage!

Kim: How much did this program cost?

Heather: We contacted the local bank about sponsoring the program and they pay for all of our materials that we hand out to kids (folders, stickers, canvas book bags, pencils, hardback book upon completion, and photo prints of the kids). We started with a donation of $275 to purchase all of the materials and request more as needed to replenish supplies. This is a very cost-effective program with a huge return on investment!

Kim: How many staff members are needed for this service?

Heather: Everyone helps to promote the program, track progress of kids and parents who come in to report, and our Children’s librarian holds an ice cream party before the start of the school year to celebrate those who have finished the program.

Kim: What do you wish you had known before starting this project?

Heather: A better way of having parents/guardians track the books read to their children. We started with sheets of paper for each set of 100 books that asked parents to write the title of the books read. When another library shared that they use a sheet for each set of 100 books where parents simply color in an object/shape/animal for each book, we immediately implemented that idea to make it easier on parents. And boy have they appreciated it!

For more information about this program, please contact Heather at hbarron@bourbon.lib.in.us.

This blog post was written by Kimberly Brown-Harden, Outreach Librarian. For more information, contact the Professional Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email statewideservices@library.in.gov.