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Books! and more Books!! Southeast Colorado Library Receives a Big Donation

The following is a news release from the Woodruff Memorial Library in La Junta

Woodruff Memorial Library receives 735 new books from Kids Need to Read’s “Grow Your Library” Program National book giving program arrives in La Junta, CO

(Mesa, AZ) -- Kids Need to Read (KNTR) will be arriving at the Woodruff Memorial Library with Grow Your Library, an inspiring library donation program led by KNTR Board Members Gary and Tina Mlodzik. Inspired by the Mlodzik’s shared love of reading, family, and public libraries, this program delivers free books and story time to local libraries and children during the couple’s travels.

According to Heather Maes, Director of Library Services, price increases in the publishing world are tough on a small community library. Funds are limited to replace worn out items. At KNTR, we believe that having new and exciting books readily available for children to choose from encourages reading. To entice children and young adults to come to the library, KNTR is providing 735 new books to the Woodruff Memorial Library. The cover value of these new books is $10,014. This donation is the largest dollar value made through the Grow Your Library program in its 45 library history of giving through KNTR. Ms Maes noted that “This (book grant) would allow us to weed out worn and outdated items from our collection and replace them with new books.”

Why 735 new books? To match the original book donation which founded the library! According to the Woodruff Memorial Library website, in 1888, Thomas Woodruff, a Boston lawyer, personally selected and shipped 735 books to his ‘agent’ in La Junta, attorney George Kilgore. These became the original collection of what would become known as the Young Folks Library. It opened on October 20, 1888, ho used in Kilgore’s office located on the east side of the 300 block of Colorado Avenue. The library has been relocated several times since. As a retired elementary school Librarian, Tina Mlodzik stresses the importance of supporting public libraries, especially in communities where children may not own their own books. “Giving children access to a large quantity and varied selection of books has many benefits,” Tina explains. “The more books a child sees, the more motivated they are to read. Borrowing books from the library teaches sharing and builds respect for things that belong to others.”

On Friday, October 28, 2022 Grow Your Library will hold two special story time events at the Woodruff Memorial Library, 522 Colorado Avenue in La Junta, CO. The 10am event is for children birth – pre-K, the 1pm event is intended for children K-6th grade. Highlighting the events are Colorado authors Tom and Lindy Schneider who are scheduled to read their book Starfish on the Beach. As a bonus, each child in attendance at story time will receive a free book and a Highlights magazine courtesy of KNTR. After the event, each child will have the opportunity to donate a book in their name on behalf of KNTR. This no-cost opportunity teaches the children to use their own love of reading to help the Woodruff Memorial Library earn even more free books in the future. KNTR is happy to share some book love with this library, its patrons and its enthusiastic staff. “I developed the Grow Your Library program to introduce a giving culture in the youth we meet at literacy events,” said Gary Mlodzik. “Putting a book in the hands of a child and allowing them to expand their horizons is magical. Allowing that child to make a small effort in order to share that magic for future generations is a priceless lesson. It is my hope that the children will be proud of the book donations made in their name and tell their friends, thereby further encouraging both literacy and philanthropy.” When asked about the motive behind the project, Kids Need to Read Executive Director Jessica Payne stated, "A library is the heart of any community. Kids Need to Read’s Grow Your Library program not only invests in these indispensable bastions of literary treasure, it also encourages and connects the communities served by each library in order to inspire support for future generations. Children who participate in this program learn that they too can make a difference." This will be the 45th community served by Grow Your Library since its inception in 2015. Other Colorado communities that have received Grow Your Library grants are Cortez, Gunnison and Alamosa.

About Kids Need to Read:

Founded with a passion to improve the lives of disadvantaged children by providing inspiring book collections and engaging literacy programs to underfunded schools, libraries, and organizations across the nation, Kids Need to Read aspires to empower and embolden every last child through a culture of reading. For many of the children it serves, Kids Need to Read represents a crucial link to a strong literacy education, and its programs help build and nurture support systems for the development of literate minds. By immersing children in an integrated world of literary experiences that teaches them, firsthand, the impact of reading on every aspect of life, imagination is ignited and confidence is built for a prosperous future, regardless of race, economic status, or personal capabilities. ###

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