Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
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Contact: Communications and Development
FREE LIBRARY LAUNCHES READ, BABY, READ PROGRAM TO ADVOCATE EARLY CHILDHOOD LITERACY
Free Library partners with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to deliver Library cards to city’s infants
PHILADELPHIA, PA September 29, 2011—In celebration of National Library Card Sign-Up Month and to highlight the importance of early childhood literacy, the Free Library of Philadelphia has announced a pilot program called Read, Baby, Read, aimed at getting Library cards into the hands of the city’s newest residents: infants. The Free Library will partner in this effort with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Reach Out and Read Program. Reach Out and Read, a national nonprofit organization, prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. The program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities.
Read, Baby, Read will be piloted at four of CHOP’s Care Network, Pediatric & Adolescent Care practices, currently working in concert with Reach Out and Read. In addition, each of the Library’s 54 branches throughout the city will have the cards on hand to give out to parents and children who use their materials. The card is available to children ages birth to five-years-old, and can be used to check out children’s materials—including books, music, and DVDs—at any Free Library location.
“As the Free Library of Growing Imaginations, we are so delighted to highlight the importance of reading to your child from the moment they are born,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library. “We are proud to launch this new campaign that will help instill a lifelong love of reading and literacy in our city’s young children.”
“For 15 years, the CHOP Reach Out and Read Program has created a literacy-rich environment in our Care Network by giving new and gently-used books to families who would otherwise have none. But federal funding and insurance reimbursements for vital education programs like this are virtually non-existent,” said Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “This collaboration with the Free Library allows us to put even more books in the hands of children and parents who need them.”
In addition to offering these new cards to Philadelphia’s infants, the Free Library’s 54-branch system has robust program offerings for children, ranging from baby storytimes to craft hours. In addition, the Library’s website freelibrary.org offers a special section called Read, Baby, Read that includes librarian-recommended book lists for young children, links to educational and literacy-based websites for babies, and other electronic resources—such as online nursery rhymes—for children.
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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.
Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850