Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Approaching a Physician About Reach Out and Read

Oh, my. You know how life seems to give you a present once in awhile that if you are paying attention you can really feel good about?  Well, read on….

Reach Out & Read Wisconsin
At our recent meeting of OWLS Youth Services librarians, we heard a very passionate presentation about Reach Out and Read from Tanya and Becky from the Appleton Public Library about all the great work they are doing to partner with physicians in the community. A day or two later, at our monthly library Lego Club, a local physician and her two small children attended and were busy building something great with Legos. I was in the room, talking to myself: "Do I approach her, or don't I?" and "What will I say so that I don’t blow it?" and "Be careful not to ask for too much of commitment or she might just be polite and you’ll get nowhere."

I am relaying this conversation so that you have the courage to have a similar conversation in your community.

  • So, I said, "Hi Darlene! I thought about you yesterday."
  • To which she replied, "Oh, really? What about?"
  • "Well I was with a group of OWLS librarians and we heard about the work of our Appleton colleagues who are connecting with local physicians and a program called Reach Out and Read. Are you familiar with it?" I asked.
  • "Hmmmm. Not sure. What's it all about?"
  • I took a deep breath and said, "It's this great national initiative to use the well-baby check ups to give away free age-appropriate books to families and to use it as a diagnostic tool in the examination. Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, from UW-Madison, has been talking about this program with librarians now for a couple of years and personally testifies about how he can find out so much through the exchange of a book with a child and how it allows for a discussion with the parent about what they can expect a child that age to experience when they are read to. I know our hospital auxiliary already provides books for the children, but I think they are dispensed by the medical assistant, not the doctor. Might you be interested in watching some videos about how doctors use Reach Out and Read?"
  • Without hesitating, she said, "Yes! I'll take a look at them and try it. Once I try it myself, I can bring it up to other doctors at ThedaCare, too."

Suppressing my screams of delight, and dance of joy, I offered her a pen and paper for her email address and immediately found the links online and shot off an email to her for Monday morning viewing.

Hi Darlene-
Thanks again for agreeing to take a look at this information from Reach Out and Read. I was so impressed with information from Dr. Navsaria, that I really want to partner with local physicians to see what we can do to enhance the already terrific Prescription to Read program started by the hospital auxiliary. Please let me know what you think and if you see anyway we can work together.


No need to double-dog dare you....you, too, can have this conversation!  I will keep you posted to the next chapter of this story as it unfolds!

Sue Abrahamson, Children's Librarian
Waupaca Area Public Library, Waupaca, WI