Outreach to expectant and new parents

Compiled by Bryan McCormick, Hedberg Public Library (Janesville, WI)

* Scottsdale Public Library reaches out to new parents in two ways. First is our Book Bites program. We deliver a supply of gift-wrapped board books, each with a library card and a printed card with information about the library, to the maternity wards of our local hospitals. When the parents bring the card back to activate it, we give it a special status in the computer that makes it fine-free for the first year of the baby’s life, and we also give them a bib with our logo on it, a calendar of events, and an ECRR brochure.

Our second method for reaching out to new parents is called the Books and Babies Celebration. It’s basically a baby shower that anyone with a child under 1 is welcome to attend. We play baby shower games, give prizes and cake, and provide guest speakers who can give helpful information to new parents. At our last celebration we had a woman from Child Care Resource and Referral and a representative from the county office of dental health. The parties have been very successful.
Beth Medley, Youth Services Librarian/Appaloosa Branch/Scottsdale Public Library
* I’m on my way to a meeting at a pediatric clinic which is part of the Reach Out and Read program. When I was researching it last night I found out it’s a national program that has pediatricians giving a free book to new parents (especially at-risk and low-income) and has ROR reps meetings w/new parents to talk about “immunizing their kids against illiteracy.”

One of the branches of our system has done story times in the waiting room, and I may be doing that this fall too! Here's their website:  http://www.reachoutandread.org/ and you can find a participating clinic here:  http://www.reachoutandread.org/whereweare/
Sarah Stippich, Children's Librarian/Free Library of Philadelphia

* Our local hospital has a weekly “mom and baby” group. This group is designed for new moms to meet other new moms and to learn about pertinent topics. Our early literacy librarian meets with this group quarterly to discuss the importance of reading and to promote our programs.

Our local hospitals (2) put on a baby fair or baby shower three times a year. Our librarian also attends all events to promote our programs and the importance of reading.

The maternity ward at one local hospital distributes information about our story times in their welcome baby packets and has flyers on tables in their clinic waiting room.
Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator/La Crosse (WI) Public Library
* We provide certificates to new mothers through a partnership with the local hospital that they can bring to the library to receive a “first book” for their baby. We encourage parents to get their children library cards even as newborns.
Barbara Huff, Youth Services Librarian/Farmington NM Public Library