Let 1000 Books Bloom!

There was question on the alsc-l and pubyac listservs recently about the originator of 1000 Books Before Kindergarten programs in libraries. Although I have been involved in these programs, blogged about them and promoted them, it wasn't me.

The good folks at Bremen Public Library in Indiana headed up by Sandra Krost were the developers of the concept. Inspired by Mem Fox's Reading Magic, Sandra designed the program with zoo animals as a theme. She willingly shared her expertise with us while I was at Menasha WI Public Library and project coordinator Ann Hardginski developed that program based on the Very Hungry Caterpillar. When I moved to La Crosse WI PL, we started a program here with a flower/seed theme. And when Ann moved on to become Head of Youth Services at Kimberly-Little Chute (WI) Library she started an "Old MacDonald" themed program.

Since the time that Bremen PL shared their cool effort on pubyac, programs like this have been popping up at libraries all over the country. It is an amazing stealth program that keeps parents heavily involved in nurturing their child's early literacy.  It also encourages frequent visits to the library that help promote the formation of the well-beloved "library habit". And 1000 Book programs are awesome at boosting circulation since parents need many books to keep their own and their child's interest up!

Want a glimpse at how-to's and other libraries' websites that run these programs?  Click on, my friends!
 La Crosse PL Sample page PDFs (scroll down and look under "Passive Programs")
Willmar (MN) PL
Rock Rapids (IA ) PL
Jay Co (IN) PL
Fond du Lac (WI) PL
Goshen (IN) PL
Wells Co (CO) PL
Great River (MN) Regional Library

Have you started a 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program at your library?  Share with me in comments for others to discover. And I'll be pinning it on my 1000 Books Pinterest board too!

To find samples of our materials, check out our Winding Rivers Library System Youth website and scroll down towards the bottom of the page!


  1. I am hoping to start one this coming fall. Thanks for all the ideas!

  2. Thanks for always being such a great spokesperson for 1000 Books! I love watching the kids put their animals stickers up on Old MacDonald's farm knowing that they were just read another 100 books. It is a great motivator for families to read together.

    1. 1000 Book programs really are like selling ice cream in July. A colleague from another library in the Midwest was asking if we had to change it when ECRR2 came out. Nope. It is independent of any changes or new directions in early literacy methods and thought since it simply reinforces the importance of reading with one's child. That's the beauty of this great program.And I am so grateful that you helped me remember it's origins. Sandy and Bremen Library can be proud of the seeds they planted growing in many other places!