Free book program hits milestone

GRETEL DAUGHERTY/The Daily Sentinel—With her 1-year-old son, Addison, tucked under one arm, Katrina Fallas helps her other son, Nicolas, 5, pick out a free book Saturday during a celebration for the Grand Junction chapter of Imagination Library. The central branch of the Mesa County Library marked delivery of the 25,000th book to a child 5 or younger.



Registration for the Grand Junction Imagination Library program is available online, Brochures are also available at the Mesa County Public Library District’s main branch.

By the time she was 2, Jayde Bussard already had 24 books stuffing her bedroom shelf.

Her mother, Sabrina, hadn’t paid a dime for them.

Jayde’s favorite book, hands down, is “Good Night, Gorilla,” a hardback which would have otherwise cost the family around $16 to purchase. It’s tattered and torn at the Bussard home, but still a loved favorite.

“She carries that book around with her everywhere,” Sabrina said.

There will be more monthly additions to Jayde’s library thanks to the local branch of Dolly Parton’s international program, Imagination Library, which allows parents to register their children younger than age 5 to receive new books. A committee hand-picked by Parton selects the books for age-appropriateness.

Active in Grand Junction since 2008, the program on Saturday celebrated two milestones: Hitting a mark in January of 25,000 books delivered while also expanding services to the Redlands area and zip code 81507. As of Saturday, the program was also delivering a little more than 1,000 books per month to zip codes 81501, 81503, 81504, 81505 and 81506.

Through age 5, children are sent one book per month, said Lindsay Keller, a board member for the program. The first book they receive is “Little Engine That Could,” and the last is “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come.”

Sabrina Bussard said her daughter, who received her latest book on Friday, was speaking in complete sentences at an early age as a likely result of the program.

“She’ll tell me when I’m turning the pages the wrong way,” Bussard said, who’s also a local elementary school teacher.

“That’s something we struggle with among some kindergarteners I have,” she said.


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