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Fort Worth Public Library Foundation promotes reading with Books for Tarrant County Babies

Posted Jan. 5, 2017

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Mayor Price and others at new parents' bedside
Library Director Gleniece Robinson, Mayor Betsy Price and Leslie Oliver of the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation present a bilingual book to Giovanni Eliazar Alvarado, who was the first baby born at JPS in Fort Worth. His parents are Diana Castorena and Jose Alvarado. The new arrival weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces and measured 19.5 inches long. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Fujii, JPS).

A new literacy initiative will provide all mothers who give birth at JPS Health Network a Fort Worth Library card and a copy of the book “Read to Me.” The book, written in English and Spanish, encourages mothers to read to their children from birth.

Books for Tarrant County Babies is a joint initiative of the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation, Fort Worth Library, JPS Foundation and JPS Health Network.

“The partnership with JPS Health Network is ideal because more than 4,700 babies are born at Tarrant County’s public hospital every year, many of whom may not have books in their home,” said Fort Worth Library Director Gleniece Robinson.

“Studies have shown that children who do not have books in their home or are not exposed to 20,000 words a day before age 3 are less likely to be ready for kindergarten,” Robinson said. “We hope to change that in Tarrant County through this program.”

The Fort Worth Public Library Foundation, the nonprofit organization that raises funds for educational programs in the community and for the city’s 16 libraries, spearheaded the project with JPS Foundation, Fort Worth Library and local children’s book author Trish Holland.

“We are providing families with their first free book and library card and sharing that a lifetime of free books awaits them at their local library,” said Leslie Oliver, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation.

The foundation will launch a fundraising campaign this year to continue the project into 2018 and beyond.

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