SLIPPERY ROCK – The last few months have busy at Slippery Rock Community Library, and there’s more fun to come.

The library is participating in “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” a nationwide initiative that aims to get children to read 1,000 books before they start school, said Karen Pierce, director of the library.

“They’re making an investment in themselves,” she said of the families who sign up for the program.

A kick-off event will be held during regular story time sessions on Tuesday, Nov. 12: 10:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the library. Call the library to register.

Children up to age 5 are invited to join the program. Those who attend the kick-off will be making banks, and the library will contribute a few pennies per child, Pierce said.

Once a book is completed, the children can add a penny to the bank. Parents are encouraged to continue that incentive.

“A thousand books is totally doable,” she said.

Kids can read books anywhere – at the library, at home, or with a babysitter or relative.

Participants will receive a log to help track their progress. The library will have a special display for the readers; for each 100 books read, they’ll get their photo taken and their “star” will move closer to the end goal.

There will probably be a prize for each milestone, plus a reward once 1,000 books have been read, Pierce said.

There is no deadline to complete the challenge, which she believes will benefit entire families.

“There’s a bond that is built, and they develop a love of reading,” she said.

That time set aside for reading can help kids learn new vocabulary and how words sound, and it’s OK to read the same book more than once for the program.

The library recently received nearly 100 books through a matching grant from the Pilcrow Foundation, which supports rural public libraries through its children’s book project.

The Slippery Rock Community Library Friends Group held a raffle to raise the matching funds. They ended up with more books than they initially expected thanks to extra support from the Pilcrow Foundation, said Molly Breakiron, president of the Friends Group.

“We are so thankful to be adding so many new books to our collection. It really does make a difference,” she said.

And the Friends Group is celebrating the award it recently received; it was named “Friends Group of the Year” by the Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries organization.

Pierce and Breakiron attended the awards ceremony in September in Williamsport. Pierce nominated the volunteer group for its dedication to the library.

“We appreciate being recognized for all our hard work. Belonging to the Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries Group helps us to be a part of something bigger across the state,” Breakiron said.

Slippery Rock Community Library is at 465 N. Main St., Slippery Rock. New expanded hours are 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Info: Call 724-738-9179 or visit www.slipperyrocklibrary.com or find “Slippery Rock Community Library” on Facebook.

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