Library, hospital team up to turn babies into readers

This week, the Raise a Reader initiative began giving a durable board story book, a Lane Library book bag and a certificate for the child’s first library card waiving any overdue fees for the baby’s first year and information about the importance of reading to babies to every parent who has a baby at Fort Hamilton Hospital in the coming year.

“It’s a wonderful community partnership to help us get babies off to the best start possible by helping their parents turn them into readers,” said Sonja Kranbuhl, director of the Fort Hamilton Foundation.

Library spokesperson Carrie Mancuso said, “The Lane Libraries have been involved in similar projects in the past and wanted to rejuvenate the program because of the importance of reaching parents early and arming them with the tools necessary to begin literacy skills with their children from birth.”

The Lane Libraries seek to provide access to print materials and educate parents on the importance of pre-literacy skills, both of which are key to preparing children for school.

The early literacy information sheet is also available in Spanish with a bilingual board book.

The Bookmobile Department, which is spearheading the Raise a Reader initiative, currently provides mobile library access to preschools and elementary schools, among other populations, but conceived of the Raise a Reader program as a way to reach kids even younger.

“We want to help make parents aware of their critical role in preparing their kids to read,” said Fran Meyer, the library’s manager of bookmobile services. “Conversations, songs, folktales – in any language – help build word-sound awareness and a positive association with reading. And the more kids read, the better they are at it, and the better they’ll do in school.”

As part of the libraries’ strategic plan and renewed focus on early literacy, the Lane Libraries hope to expand this pilot project into other area hospitals in the future, Mancuso said.

The initiative is made possible by a grant from Altrusa International and a donation from the Friends of the Hamilton-Fairfield Lane Libraries.

For more information about this and other programs at the Lane Libraries, call 513-894-6557 or visit the Lane website at

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