ANTIOCH -- Librarian Geneva Ross recently tossed nearly 1,100 books out in the community.

Well, not so much tossed as placed lovingly and enthusiastically into the hands of some important recipients -- children.

The Antioch Public Library's Kids Read! program, which began in 2013, yielded the big give and additional activities.

Ross and fellow librarians Alyson Matthews and Becky Nielsen came up with the idea and decided "(events) focusing on the emerging readers would be most effective ... in encouraging early literacy activities, a love of the library and promote lifelong literacy for the whole family," Ross said.

The program was made possible by a $2,000 grant from Target and $1,400 from the Antioch Friends of the Library group.

The books were distributed at several areas around the city, including two Starbucks locations, First Five Center, and to kindergarten and first- grade classes at Fremont and Marsh elementary schools.

Merle Whitburn, Friends of the Antioch Library president, said the group works hard to raise money for "programs for the youth of Antioch and are especially proud we were able to assist (with the Kids Read!) We feel strongly that providing books at a young age will inspire children to continue to read for enjoyment and knowledge books give us."

In addition to the distribution of the books, three events were offered to the community. They were a dance party, finger painting to a variety of music and a performance by Alphabet Rockers. Each had a "great turnout."

"Putting books into the hands of children is providing them with the key to open so many doors in life that would be closed to them otherwise," Ross said. "By encouraging a love of reading in the young, we can increase literacy rates and, therefore, opportunities for them later in life. It is invaluable."

Although the program is on hold until more funds can be obtained, Ross does hope to have the opportunity again.

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