One of the ways that we have grown our book collection for Rose is by getting free books. It has been important to us for her to have a lot of books, but having a limited budget, we can’t just go out and buy books all the time. That being said, are three ways that we get new books in our house every month.
1) The Dolly Parton Imagination Library—This is one of the easiest and most fantastic ways to get free books. Dolly Parton launched the Imagination Library in 1996 in the rural Tennessee community that she grew up in. She wanted to give kids a love of reading, and help families develop literacy rich homes. In 2000, the program became so popular that it was expanded across the country. For any region that wants to start an Imagination Library program, they put together an organization to raise the funds that provide for the book, and Dolly Parton’s organization makes sure the books get mailed out each month. When we signed Rose up for the program, I think we were actually still with her in the hospital. She got her first book at 6 months old (The Little Engine That Could), and will get a book a month until she enters kindergarten. All you have to do is go to http://www.imaginationlibrary.com/. If you don’t have coverage in your area, there are even suggestions about how to get organized and start a program.
2) PJ Library—This is a program that takes its cues from Imagination Library, but is specifically for Jewish families. It’s not as widespread, so you may not be lucky enough to have a chapter in your area, but Rose is so lucky to have this available to her. She gets one Jewish themed book a month from birth through age 6-8 (depends on the area you live in). Sometimes she gets a music cd instead of a book. Usually the books relate to whatever Jewish holiday is going on in that general time frame. Just like Imagination Library, if there isn’t a chapter in your area, there is support to start one up. Their website is http://www.pjlibrary.org/ if you want to sign up.
3) Your Local Library—I mean, come on. A library card is free, and you can cycle in new books every week to see if your kid likes them before spending the money on a new book. I’ve started just getting a few books out each week while I’m at the library for story time. If you don’t know where your library is, FIND OUT TODAY!!!
I’m sure there are other resources, and if you know of one, please post it down in the comments section. Happy reading!