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A book for every 4-year-old

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One Book 4 Colorado (OB4CO) is back for its seventh consecutive year, a program that distributes over 75,000 copies of the same book to every 4-year-old in the state. The 2018 book giveaway runs from April 9-23 and delivers books in English and Spanish to preschool-aged children statewide through a collaboration that depends heavily on public libraries.

"We began gathering information to project the number of books needed for Delta County in early December," says Leah Morris, collections and systems administrator for Delta County Libraries. "We rely on staff feedback, partnerships with local pre-schools, weekly storytimes at each library, and statistics from previous years to get a good number for the book order."

"Oddly, we have no idea what book we are ordering when we supply the numbers to the state library in December," Morris laughs. The OB4CO website promotes three pre-selected book titles and allows the public to vote for the winning title. "We usually hear from the state sometime in February about the winning book so that we can start planning for the giveaway."

The book title remains a secret until the giveaway starts in April. In 2017, over 400 copies of the winning title, "Mouse Mess," by Linnea Riley, along with a craft, reached the hands of 4-year-olds in Delta County.

"We are excited about the title and the craft this year," says Terry Johns, Hotchkiss Library manager. Johns led the effort to plan the craft that will accompany the 2018 book. "Over the last few weeks supplies were ordered and crafts prepared for 500 children. Having a craft along with the book makes it that much more fun and engaging for the kids."

"We are very grateful to all our volunteers for helping prepare for this giveaway and also to the Delta Family Center for funding the supplies for the craft," Johns states. "Their contributions are significant."

The Delta Family Center, through the work of the Backpack Program, has been promoting and supporting early literacy skills in Delta County for over 25 years. OB4CO offers the perfect opportunity for the library district and the Delta Family Center to work together on a common goal.

The mission of OB4CO is to promote early literacy skills and support the families that serve as a child's first and most important teacher. The OB4CO website states, "Research shows that 4-year-olds that have access to books and adults that read to them often will be much more likely to be ready to read when they start kindergarten."

Nearly 500 books, along with the corresponding craft, are ready to give away in pre-schools and library storytimes starting Monday, April 9-23. "The most rewarding part of this giveaway is the look on the faces of the children when they receive the book and make their craft," Johns says. "It really does make a difference."

OB4CO is a privately-funded program and is a collaboration between Lt. Governor Donna Lynne's office, Colorado Office of Early Literacy, Colorado State Library, the Denver Preschool Program, public and military libraries statewide, the private sector, and the nonprofit and foundation communities.

Stay tuned for the statewide public announcement of the OB4CO book title on April 9. For more information on the program, contact your local library or visit the website at www.onebook4colorado.org.

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