DALLAS, TX - Dallas Public Library, Friends of the Dallas Public Library and Parkland Health & Hospital System launched Books for Dallas Babies, their first joint literacy initiative, on January 1, 2016. All mothers who give birth at Parkland Health & Hospital System will receive a copy of the book "Read to Me," written by Dr. Judi Moreillon, an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman's University.
The book, written in English and Spanish, and English and Vietnamese, encourages mothers to read to their children from birth.
The partnership with Parkland is ideal, said Dallas Public Library director Jo Giudice, because more than 10,000 babies are born at Dallas County’s public hospital every year, many of whom come from low-income households.
“Studies have shown that children born in low-income households are less likely to be ready for kindergarten than children born in higher income households,” said Giudice. “We hope to change that in Dallas through this program.”
Friends of the Dallas Public Library, the nonprofit organization that raises funds for materials and improvements for the city’s 29 libraries, spearheaded the project with Dallas Public Library and local children's book author Trish Holland.
“We are providing families with their first free book and sharing that a lifetime of free books awaits them at their local public library,” said Kate Park, executive director of Friends of the Dallas Public Library. Park and Holland's combined passion for early literacy helped secure support from The Boone Family Foundation and The Mike and Mary Terry Family Foundation to make Books for Dallas Babies a reality.
For Parkland, Books for Dallas Babies represents another powerful community partnership to reach out to the patients it serves. “Giving a precious book to a new mom with a new baby is a gift that keeps on giving by providing the possibility of a better life through literacy promotion,” said Donna Persaud, MD, Chief of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, Parkland’s Community Medicine Division.
“I’m so excited the Dallas Public Library and Friends of the Dallas Public Library chose Parkland for this program. This is a great program to encourage parents to read to their babies. Reading to your baby has been shown to enhance language and speech development in children,” said Jennifer Hill, RN, MHA, Director of Parkland’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Friends of the Dallas Public Library will launch a second fundraising campaign in 2016 to continue the project into 2017 and beyond.