Penn Yan Public Library began offering the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program in January 2018, with funding assistance provided by Penn Yan Rotary, Penn Yan Kiwanis, and Elevate Youth. 

The program, offered by libraries across the country, is simple: families sign up and pledge to ensure that their child (or children) listens to one thousand books before entering Kindergarten. Research shows that reading to young children not only strengthens the family unit, but also prepares kids for a lifetime of learning. In Penn Yan, participating kids are given a free book when they sign up, earn a free book for every 90 books they listen to along the journey, and a final free book when they complete the program.

By September 2019, 20 local children had listened to 1,000 books—and one had listened to 2,000! 

The library and the participating families celebrated with a cookout at Red Jacket Park. Kids enjoyed the playground, the library’s beloved bubble machine, and time with friends, along with handmade gift bags that included a book, candy, and toys. The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program is actively seeking new young participants. Please see Youth Services staff at the library to sign up.

The library also recently celebrated the completion of another summer of reading and learning fun. For eight weeks, kids who logged their reading hours could earn free books and other prizes. In total, participating youth read for 968 hours and earned 447 free books. The library held more than 70 programs attended by over 1,200 people, including crafting sessions for kids and teens, family nights, a visit from Tanglewood Nature Center, lawn games during the concerts on the courthouse lawn, the annual Books & Bikes Fest, and six weeks of free lunch for kids.

Penn Yan Public Library, at 214 Main St., Penn Yan, is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The library is active on Facebook and Instagram. A full events calendar, along with other information, can be found on the library’s website at