This week we launched an exciting new program. Starting in mid-August, all newborns born at area hospitals (Deaconess, Sacred Heart, Holy Family and the Spokane Midwives Birthing Center) will go home with their very own Spokane Public Library card and a free book if they live in Spokane city limits.

The Books for Babies gift bags, provided by Spokane Public Library through generous support of the Friends of Spokane Public Library, include a free board book, book marks, a custom kids’ library card and early literacy tips. The Books for Babies kit also information about how to access digital resources from home – like something to read, watch or listen to during late nights caring for a new baby.

“Many parents don’t realize that early literacy can and should start at day one,” says Spokane Public Library Learning & Literacy Coordinator, Sally Chilson. “Babies need to hear words everyday,” she says, citing American Library Association research “We like to say everyday you should read to your baby, sing to your baby, and play with your baby. Talk to them every chance you get, even though they can’t yet answer back.”

The kit includes instructions for the new parents to come into the library when they are feeling up for any outing to activate their library card.

Newborns will receive kits while supplies last.