According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, each baby goes home with a little gift bag that contains, a book, a toy, and their new library card:
The child will also be invited to celebrate his or her first birthday at the library and receive another free book.[...]
There is no doubt that children should be read to from an early age. And even before kids are able to read by themselves, they should have chunky books to play with and to help them learn to look at pictures and turn pages.
The Born to Read program began last year with support from the St. Louis County Library Foundation. More than 15,000 families are expected to receive a bag from the program this year.
The purpose of the program is, of course, to get parents to read to their children as often, and as soon, as possible, in the process exposing the kids to language, story-telling, and the whole wide world of books and learning. As library director Kristen Sorth says, "Studies show that when children start behind, they stay behind." Kids, on the other hand, who grow up around books (theirs and those of their peers and parents) are more likely to become readers at an early age - and to do well in school.
Congratulations to the St. Louis County Library system for making the effort to get kids there off to a good start.