1000 Books Before Kindergarten is Still Rockin!

I love the organic feel of how 1000 Books Before Kindergarten programs have spread. Started a few years ago in Bremen IN by the mighty Sandy Krost, it has popped up here, there and everywhere around the country. Recently, a colleague, Kathleen Larson at From the Short Stacks, posted my all-time favorite working graphic - a google doc map of places where 1000 Books Before Kindergarten programs have been developed.

Beth Crist of the Colorado State Library produced an excellent summary of what the program is about along with some great links. She also recently hosted a webinar on 1000 Bks B4K with Sandy. My colleague, Sara Bryce did an outstanding job of gathering research to buttress requests for grants, funds and convincing administration on the worth of programs like this at her blog S. Bryce Kozla.  I continue to pin programs on my Let 1000 Books Bloom Pinterest board. (And in a 2014 update, Kelsey Cole at Library Bonanza created a hugely helpful set of FAQs and tips  and Luci Bledsoe on Library Program Mojo shares her planning process to make it easy to start a 1000 Books program at your library!)

While every program has a different feel and approach and theme, every program is alike in encouraging parents to read widely and muchly to their preschooler. Parents are always pleasantly surprised at how easy and fun the process is. And kids are proud of their achievements.

We have really enjoyed this stealth program here at our library. Kids and parents continue to participate as we near our 2nd anniversary. The program has resulted in over 2,500 return visits (plus  families have read almost 197,600 books with La Crosse preschoolers who are in the Club!!) and fun interactions with kids and parents. We continue to improve on it - going from writing titles on 8"x11" sheets to bookmarks with 100 seeds to mark off books read; thinking about decreasing prizes and sticking to stickers and working to keep it publicized for new families coming in.

Our state also recently added a category in their annual report request that allows libraries to report out these statistics for stealth and DIY programs - a sea-change for us since only active program stats and SLP registrations were previously gathered on those reports.

For other links to 1000 Books posts I've done, stop herehere, here, here, and here.  You can also view a webinar I did linked here. And as always, to find samples of our materials, check out our Winding Rivers Library System Youth website and scroll down towards the bottom of the page!

And for a 2014 update on our adventures here at LPL, please stop here!)


  1. I'm very excited about being able to report statistics for stealth programs. I just did my numbers and we read 1500 books in January for 10KBK!

    1. I love how you think about "how many books read" Hello, Marge! Holy crap. That means La Crosse kids have read a quarter of a million books! Press release here I come!!!!

    2. Wow Marge, that's a lot of books! What an impressive start on education for La Crosse kids.

    3. Jennifer, do you count each book read as a number for your stats? Or do you count each sheet handed in as one number for your stats? I'm not quite sure how reporting the stealth numbers works.

    4. I'm going to jump in. For our stealth stats, we count each sheet of 100 titles brought back as one visit. So, if we count the original visit to learn about the program, along with return visits, that's how we got the stealth statistic number of 2500. When Jennifer said 150 books read in January, I realized when we multiply the number of books by visits we get the total number of books read. That really made my eyes pop.