L.O.R.E. - Love of Reading Early

In 2015 the Rotary Club president at the time Nate Moseman, made a request for ideas for potential club projects.

Rotarians who had been involved in the Strive program  (Students Taking a Renewed Interest in the Value of Education) realized that our program was mainly a last chance for students while in high school to pull their grades up and finish strong. It helped the most motivated individuals but was too little too late for too many. 

We had been thinking of starting some kind of educational program earlier for quite a while.

Rotarian, Dr. Jeff Hardwig, became aware of the studies showing that language acquisition had a critical period in the first years of life when the child’s brain is making connections (synapses) at an astonishing rate of 1-2 million synapses per second. It is during this period that Children benefit most from hearing as many words as possible and reading out loud to children gives them a greatly increased vocabulary and readiness to excel in school. It’s also an emotionally bonding experience to read to a child. They love it.

Armed with the science, Rotary gathered a group of community individuals who play a role in early childhood education to get their advice. 

The first planning meeting was attended by 16 people with more added to our group later including a clinic physician, many early childhood teachers, public health, school principal and Rotarians.



What emerged from early planning and our first year of experience, ongoing ideas and adaptation was the program we have today. 

1. Advocacy for Reach Out and Read (reading promotion and a free book at 10 year well-child checks)

2. Promotion of Imagination Library starting at birth (book a month for 5 years)

3. Rotary Readers at pre-K and K classes 

4. Lore Libraries are placed at 9 locations in town : At places where everyone goes ( grocery store, medical clinics) and at places where there may be a greater need for free books such as the Food Shelf, Head Start, Public Health, Social Services, Backus Community Center. 

5. There were 2 book giveaways to PreK and K students during the Covid-19 pandemic and

A book drive early on which netted about 1000 books for the Lore Libraries.

We have a local benefactor who was inspired to donate books for our Lore Libraries and has sent 8 shipments of new books so far, about 70 books per shipment. 

A “Save The Children “ grant for $15,000 has been awarded to LORE which will be used to help support the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota to buy one years worth of books for The Imagination Library, one year’s worth of books for both medical clinics to purchase books for Reach Out and Read, and buy books for all 17 licensed daycares and 2 childcare centers, and purchase books to stock the Lore Libraries.

Eight of the Lore Libraries are delightfully and attractively painted by a local artist, Katie Nordby with themes from children’s literature. One was painted by Jason Hardwig.