Delta County Libraries will be focused on giraffes, free books and 4-year-olds this week and next. Library staff members are working hard to distribute a copy of the book "Giraffes Can't Dance," by Giles Andreae, to every 4-year-old in the county. Staff will be visiting area preschools, as well as promoting the book in each library at story times and with library displays. Children can receive the book in their schools or, for those children not enrolled in preschool, visit the library to ask for a copy.
This giveaway is part of a statewide program called One Book 4 Colorado (OB4C), which is now in its fifth year of book distribution to kids. OB4C was started by the lieutenant governor's office in collaboration with Reach Out and Read Colorado, the Colorado State Library, and a number of other public and private organizations. The program is designed to provide a free book to every 4-year-old in Colorado, as well as offering literacy resources to families throughout the state, increasing the incentive for parents to read with children. Colorado State librarians expect that one lucky child will receive the 375,000th book given away through the program this year, which attests to the popularity and success of the program since 2012.
Locally, staff members look forward to the program every year, as it is a wonderful opportunity to work with area preschools and delight numerous young children. Hotchkiss children's librarian Terry Johns elaborates, "Being able to present these books to BELA preschool children and other 4-year-olds that come into the library is such a highlight for the month of April. We plan a really special story time program for the preschoolers, read the book they will receive, and make a craft. When they find out they get to take home their very own copy of the book, their little faces just light up!"
Preschoolers are not the only ones celebrating reading this week. It is also National Library Week, an opportunity to highlight the important role of libraries in communities around the country. National Library Week was created as an event almost 60 years ago, although libraries have been touching lives far longer than that, becoming a fundamental establishment in nearly every city in America, and working to anticipate the needs of patrons during constantly changing times.
Whether library staff members are giving away free books to children, offering interesting programs to adults, helping to answer challenging reference questions, providing computers and Internet access to patrons, or simply offering a smile, the libraries reach many, many people throughout Delta County. This week, a visit to the library is a time to reflect on those connections, take advantage of services offered, and possibly catch a glimpse of a beaming 4-year-old clutching a brand new book.