YSS 2010 Pied Piper Award

Fairport Public Library
One Fairport Village Landing
Fairport, New York 14450
(585) 223-9091
Amy Joslyn
Children’s Librarian

Greece Public Library
2 Vince Tofany Boulevard
Greece, New York 14612
(585) 225-8951
Jennifer Preisser
Children’s Librarian

Both the Fairport and Greece libraries have a large population of children ages birth to 18 months. In an effort to promote early literacy and meet the needs of this burgeoning group, Baby and Toddler Lapsit programs are held regularly at both libraries. Since parents and caregivers also attend our Baby and Toddler story times along with the child, we discovered that they were often unable to check out items (books, music CDs) for home use. Between carrying or watching after an infant and bringing along a diaper bag and/or other miscellaneous items, it is very difficult for caregivers to select items either before or after story times. After hearing several parents comment that they would need to select books at a time when it was more convenient for them to browse the collection, we discussed the possibility of having items on a cart or table near the story room. We promoted our story times with a themed display each week, but even that seemed difficult for parents who were trying to put coats on infants and toddlers or gather their belongings, etc. After discussing many possibilities, it was determined that pre-assembled bags were most likely the best way to serve these parents/caregivers who wanted to check out library materials.

Read to Me Bags
We assembled self-contained kits/bags. Each bag includes 2 board books, 1 music CD and 1 finger puppet. Each item in the bag is clearly labeled, the bags are also labeled with the library name, name of the kit, contents and a picture of the puppet/toy that is included. There is an informational sheet outlining tips for reading aloud with your baby as well as a booklist of recommended titles for babies, the ALA publication "Every Child Ready to Read" and the PLA publication "Nursery Rhymes, Songs and Fingerplays."

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Fairport Public Library Read to Me bags.

The intended audience for these kits was initially children ages birth through 3 years of age, although both libraries have found them to be popular with preschoolers of all ages.

We promoted the Read to Me bags with a display near the story room. We talked them up at story times and even passed them around so parents could look at and play with them with their child in the library. Signage was visible within the library, and we included a section about them on our library blog.

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Greece Public Library Read to Me bags.

The bags have been incredibly popular not only with the intended audience, but with the library population in general. Each library has approximately 50 bags which have circulated incredibly very well, and library patrons are very pleased. One mother commented that, "My baby loved it so much, we hated to bring it back." It is interesting to note that both libraries (one on the East side of Rochester, one on the West side) had similar reactions. Parents were pleased with the quality of the contents in the bags as well as the convenience and ease of checking these materials out.

Read to Me Bag flyer 1 [PDF]

Read to Me Bag flyer 2

Read to Me Bag flyer 3