Cresh Wilson, Ridgeview Elementary School library and computer tech, displays the new books available in Ridgeview's library. Elementary school libraries around Craig received about 400 total new books though funding from local groups given for goals set during last year's Passport to Reading program.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Cresh Wilson, Ridgeview Elementary School library and computer tech, displays the new books available in Ridgeview's library. Elementary school libraries around Craig received about 400 total new books though funding from local groups given for goals set during last year's Passport to Reading program.

Craig elementary libraries receive 400 new books

Once you’ve finished a book, hopefully it won’t be long before you pick up another. That pattern may take some time if you don’t have a new story to start right away, but fortunately that won’t be a problem for quite some time for the young readers of Moffat County.

The libraries of Craig’s elementary schools have gotten a little bigger in their inventory. As a result of last year’s Passport to Reading program where students achieved 5,733 total stamps in the mock passports that charted their reading progress, Craig schools received $5,000 in grant money from local groups: $2,000 each from Friends of Moffat County Education and Craig Rotary Club and $1,000 from Human Resources Council of Moffat County United Way.

After using some of the funds for prizes and the celebratory barbecue for the top readers last spring, organizer James Neton had $3,346 to disperse among the libraries of East, Sandrock, Sunset and Ridgeview Elementary Schools. Each of the four schools received more than $800, amounting to about 100 books apiece, which are now on library shelves.

“Between hardbacks and paperbacks, they were able to get quite a few,” Neton said.

Those are directly benefited by the new purchase were able to weigh in on what kinds of books they’d like, with the teachers and fourth and fifth-graders participating in Passport to Reading this year making requests.

“The library people at each school made lists of books they wanted to see that weren’t already in the library, and we also purchased some others that we saw a need for,” Neton said.

The idea was to get a balance of the types of books students already like and the genres that some kids may be more hesitant to start reading.

“Our purpose was to build the library from what they saw was needed,” Neton said.

The new books are already on display at Ridgeview’s library, with a rounded selection ranging from American history to Greek mythology to the “Goosebumps” series.

“They love the ‘Goosebumps’ books and pretty much any kind of mystery books,” said Cresh Wilson, Ridgeview’s library and computer tech.

Wilson said one of the challenges in bringing new books to the library is appealing to the upper grades, especially since the elementary schools of Craig only restructured their student bodies to include fifth-grade several years ago, meaning the oldest kids in school may be a little too advanced for some of the library’s offerings from when it was kindergarten through fourth-grade.

“I’m really trying to build it up for them,” she said.

As for the folks who provided the funding for the new books, they couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of their investment in the children of the community. Chris Jones, board member for Friends of Moffat County Education, said he appreciates the fact that the libraries are not only well-stocked but diverse.

“It’s an exciting program because it motivates kids to step outside their comfort zone and read different genres of books and periodicals,” he said. “The more types of literature you can expose a student to, the better off everyone is. It opens a lot of doors for them, which is great.”

The students who set the bar during the inaugural year of the program also have the pride of knowing they helped bring in more books for those in younger grades. Additionally, the structure of the passports helps kids set goals to see who can fill up their book with stamps the fastest.

“It creates some internal competition, and I think it brings out the best in everyone,” he said. “Mr. Neton’s just done a great job getting all this going.”

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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