A dollar spent is $17 saved. So says the Federal Reserve -- if you spend it on early childhood development. Children's Book Week, now under way, is a good time to think about that.
Rob Grunewald and Arthur Rolnick of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis report that "Dollars invested in ECD (early childhood development) yield extraordinary public returns. ... Without support during these early years, a child is more likely to drop out of school, receive welfare benefits and commit crime."
They conclude that in the long term the investment returns $17 for every $1 spent.
One of the most effective investments is for parents to read to their children in the years before they enter school. It is the single most important activity in preparing children to learn to read and succeed in school. We have known that since the 1985 "Becoming a Nation of Readers: Report of the Commission on Reading."
The public entity best known to support parents in this effort is the local library. Your library -- in Waterford, Salida, Turlock, Patterson, Denair, Ceres, Newman, Riverbank, Oakdale, Empire, Keyes, Hughson and Modesto.
Parents, grandparents, baby sitters, aunts and big brothers all know it is the best place to find not only good books to read to their little ones, but also knowledgeable staff trained to help them find just right books for children.
The economic downturn has hit home. It takes $800 spent in the county before the library gets $1 in sales tax. We spend less, the library gets less. The tax coming in to support the libraries lately is just not enough to maintain the level of service we have been enjoying.
Children's Book Week is a good time to rejoice in the gift of reading that the public library gives our community, especially through its services to children.
More books in the hands of more kids. This is the goal. A goal that, in these hard times, the Friends of the Modesto Library is helping meet.
From May 29 through June 1, Friends of Modesto Library, a nonprofit supporter of library programs, will host a sale of new children's books from more than 100 publishers -- all for 50 percent off regular price.
Profits from the sale will be invested in library and literacy programs. But the biggest return will be the chance for teachers, parents and grandparents to find high quality, new books at bargain prices.
You may have heard the old saw: "Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries." Well, money is short. During Children's Book Week, let us rejoice that we still have libraries. And Library Friends to help them.
Invest in a child's future and in our community: Get a book and read to a little one in your life.
Britton is a retired librarian and secretary of Friends of the Modesto Library.