This year’s graduation season includes these little ones

Young graduates are all smiles after receiving their ‘1,000 Books Before Kindergarten’ certificates!


Special to the Times

Enthusiastic graduates, proud parents, and family members were in attendance recently at the Merced County Library main branch for the conclusion and graduation ceremony of the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program.”
What began as a pilot program in 2017 has progressed into a blossoming avenue for Pre-K kids trying to improve reading proficiency.
“The program was initiated to encourage reading literacy in kids at the Pre-K level,” said Susan Flinspach, the president of The Friends of the Merced County Library.

Flinspach’s group was instrumental in not only funding the program, but also collaborating with library personnel to overcome logistical challenges.

This year, 11 graduates donned a cap and received a certificate of graduation. The event was well-attended and well-appreciated by parents and graduates alike.

“We didn’t enter in expecting anything, and we were happy just getting a star to put on the wall, but this ceremony was the cherry on top,” said parent Michael Stobb.
Riding the crest of success, the Merced County Library system aims to extend the program to its various county branches.
Anne-Marie Montgomery, the deputy librarian for the county, pointed out: “The program is fantastic. It needs more attention so in the coming year we are going to put much more of a focus on it.”
Reading is fundamental for a child’s overall success in academics, and studies show the more time a child spends reading, the more proficient they will become.
Supporters say Merced County residents are very fortunate to have programs like “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” that foster a child’s access to books, programs, facilities, and the right personnel to ensure a goal like reading a thousand books is an attainable reality.
If you have any questions pertaining to the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, or any other County Library related questions or inquiries, contact Anne-Marie Montgomery via email at:

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