Emma was so excited to visit the Tualatin Public Library. Just a couple of days before starting school, Emma had completed the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten reading program. She was all smiles as she picked out her free book and added her name to the 1000 Books tree on the Children’s Room bulletin board.
Emma is one of 60 Tualatin children who have reached their 1000 book goal since the program started at Tualatin Library two years ago. Designed to encourage parents to read regularly to their young children, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten is one of several youth reading programs supported by donations from the Tualatin Library Foundation.
The nonprofit Tualatin Library Foundation was established in 2008 to help the Tualatin Library expand its innovation and outreach to the community through private support. It is often only through private gifts that innovative new programs and services – such as 1000 Books Before Kindergarten – can be offered by the Tualatin Library to meet the community’s changing needs.
When families sign up for 1000 Books, they receive a free book bag and get to select a free book to take home. As families read books together, they track their reading on a log, which they can trade in for more free books and other prizes.
Britany, a parent to two young boys, said that the 1000 Books program has brought a new level of enjoyment when it comes to reading. “Participating in 1000 Books Before Kindergarten encourages us to visit the library frequently, where my boys learn how to find and check out books, learn how to properly care for and handle books, and helps instill a love for books and reading,” she said.
The single most important activity to prepare a child for a life of learning is to read with them every day. Christine said 1000 Books helped remind her and her daughter to do just that. “We have continued this habit since completing the program,” she said. “Thanks for offering such a great program for our kiddos.”
The Tualatin Library Foundation’s support helps give children the tools to become successful readers and students. Another program sponsored through the Library Foundation is the Oregon Battle of the Books, or OBOB. OBOB is a statewide voluntary reading program in which students are encouraged to read a set of books then compete as teams in a tournament where they answer questions about the books. Through its partnership with Tualatin Library, the Foundation has donated more than 2,000 books to Tualatin’s elementary and middle schools to support the program.
“When we first started OBOB six years ago at Tualatin Elementary, I only had a couple hundred dollars to buy books, program materials, and register our team for regionals. We weren’t able to fully participate in the program, and I wondered if I should even continue on with it the next year,” said Library Media Assistant Kathleen Cunnington. “The Tualatin Library Foundation saved our OBOB program and brought life to our school library.
“Teachers really embraced the program because they saw how it encouraged reading books of different genres. When students visit the library each week they race to the OBOB section. The OBOB books are the highest circulated books at our school library.”
Whether it is young children developing reading skills or discovering the worlds of science and new technologies, the Tualatin Library is the place for learning. Supporting learners is the primary focus for the Tualatin Library Foundation.
One of Tualatin Library’s goals is to provide equal access to learning opportunities. About 1/3 of Tualatin’s families earn less than a living wage. Children in these families often have reduced access to technology and books, which keeps them from being on a level playing field with their peers. By increasing access to reading and technology, the Tualatin Library is giving students a path out of poverty.
Tualatin Library has been doing innovative work in providing Tualatin’s youth access to science and technology learning tools. The Tualatin Library Foundation wants to help the Library build on its successes and create a classroom within the library where all ages will be invited to create, invent, and learn. Design work for this project will get underway this fall. Gifts to the Tualatin Library Foundation, large and small, can help make this transformation possible.
Tualatin is home to a much-loved library. You can help create positive connections between Tualatin’s children and the Tualatin Public Library through your financial gift. Any amount helps, and all gifts are welcome. Through our website, www.tualatinlibraryfoundation.org, you can make a one-time contribution or sign up for our repeat donor program by giving $5 or $10 per month.
The Library Foundation is also looking to expand our board of directors. If you have experience with fundraising and development or marketing, a passion for libraries, and want an impactful way to give back to the community, consider joining us. Contact us at [email protected].