Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Public Libraries and Reach Out and Read: Are You Making the Connection?

Wisconsin librarians are likely aware of the efforts of the Reach Out and Read program that promotes early literacy through well-child medical exams. We are fortunate to have Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MD, and MLIS as the medical director of the Wisconsin Reach Out and Read program. Dr. Navsaria has presented in many communities and at many conferences to promote how "books build better brains."

Reach Out and Read logo
Reach Out & Read Wisconsin
However, while you might know what librarians are told about Reach Out and Read, do you know what medical professionals are told about libraries?  Krista Ross, director of the Southwest Wisconsin Library System, presented at a recent Wisconsin Reach Out and Read training event and offered the following suggestions. 

As your Reach Out & Reach Partner, the Public Library could: 
  • Assist in selection of books for program
  • Act as Reach Out & Read program coordinator
  • Create booklists of new children’s materials
  • Create waiting room reading areas
  • Hold waiting room story times and coordinate volunteer readers
  • Provide family literacy kits
  • Promote the Reach Out & Read program with community stakeholders
  • Gather gently used books for waiting room “free book” shelf
  • Act as partners on grant applications
  • Provide training for parents on early literacy techniques
  • Provide opportunities for parents to sign up for a library card
  • Provide complimentary programs for children to reinforce reading as a habit (example: 1000 Books Before Kindergarten)
  • Make presentations at childbirth classes
So, what are you waiting for?  Locate a nearby clinic using this map and find out how you can support each other's early literacy messages!