Thanks to a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation, the Free Library is embarking on a series of fun programs for babies, toddlers and their families called Read, Baby, Read, using new library spaces and materials to help develop language and literacy.
Research now suggests that by 18 months, less‐advantaged kids are already six months behind their wealthier peers in language development. Read, Baby, Read’s two-year pilot will include programs that meet the specific social, intellectual, physical, and emotional developmental needs of infants and toddlers.
Programs will include storytimes, playgroups, and parent groups at two library locations: Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library and Richmond Library. Pop-up programs will also be offered throughout the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia and Port Richmond. Both libraries have been assigned an Early Childhood Specialist to carry out these programs.
The Early Childhood Specialists, in collaboration with neighborhood library staff, will be able to purchase furnishings to create a space that is welcoming for babies in each library, as well as items abailable for check-out that might be of use to families with new babies. Look for new materials and space improvements at these libraries in the coming months.