EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – One local library is trying to instill a love for reading in children one book at a time. First News at Nine’s Ellie Ulbright shares how during the holidays they’re making this possible. 

The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library has been holding its annual Give a Kid a Book Program for over 29 years. Program Development Coordinator, Stacy Yearous, says gifting a child a book has a special purpose, “There’s so much technology out there and screen time that we need to kind of pull our kids away from that and let them immerse themselves in a really great story and let their imaginations run wild,”

Yearous says the program has been able to provide books to thousands of children but it wouldn’t be possible without all the help they receive, “We just had some great volunteers that are passionate about keeping kids reading, and they decided to do a book drive and see what happened. And now, 29 years later, we’re going strong with, like I say, we gave last year just over 4000 books. And this year we’re on pace to do about the same.”

Holiday shopping can be a financial strain on some families. But the Give a Kid Book Program helps make sure every child gets something they’re excited about. Yearous says, “We know, times are tough and, you know, extra purchases of just, you know, something as simple as a book might be a struggle for our family and sometimes it’s really cool when a kid can run up to something and say, ‘Look at my new book that I got!'”

Yearous says that, at the end of November, the books will be sorted and sent out to various agencies like Head Start, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Salvation Army, then dispersed to families before Christmas.

All donations of books accepted into the program must be new and unused. Yearous says the Friends of the Library also take monetary donations.