Almost immediately after giving birth to her son, Javon, five months ago, Kim Thomas introduced him to one of her favorite hobbies.
“We read together all the time,” she said. “I like the bonding experience, and I like the exposure to early literacy.”
Her library grew recently when she was presented, “The Many Mice of Mr. Brice,” as part of a package from the Friends of the Carson City Library. The Friends are preparing the packets for all babies born at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.
Through the Books For Babies program, mothers of newborns receive a book, bib and onesie before they leave the hospital. The package also includes literature that explains the importance of early literacy, a list of books appropriate for different ages and voucher for a library card.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Thomas said. “They do a great job in the hospital, but it can still be stressful. There’s so much paperwork to fill out. So to have something fun to do with your baby that you can take home with you, I think it’s a really positive thing.”
Phyllis Patton, president of Friends of the Carson City Library, said 29 Books For Babies packets were distributed in July, the month the program began.
“We wanted to reach out to the community, encouraging literacy at a very young age,” Patton said. “We want parents to know how important it is to start reading and speaking to their babies. In other words, sit down and read together. Don’t just plunk them down in front of the TV.”
In addition to encouraging her baby to read from a young age, Thomas said the books also help Javon with his development.
“It’s really good for his sensory and motor skills,” she said. “He’s almost turning the pages of his books by himself.”
Patton encouraged new parents to turn in the paperwork for a library card.
“Getting the library card is a great way to introduce young kids to reading, and taking them to story time at the library gives them the opportunity to experience hearing stories and doing crafts and interacting with other children,” she said. “This is a big help in their development so that when they start school they are ready to learn and not having to learn all the socializing and behavior things.”
Cheryl Webster, nurse manager for the Carson Tahoe Health Women and Children’s Center, said the program has been well received.
“So far, we’ve had really good, positive feedback,” she said. “The parents are very appreciative of the gifts and have had good things to say about it.”
As a librarian assistant herself, Thomas also values the connection the Books For Babies gives new moms and babies with the Carson City Library.
“It’s a nice introduction to the library,” she said. “Giving new babies and their moms a welcome present is a beautiful gesture.”
For information, call Friends of the Carson City Library at 775-884-4043.