Library's Early Literacy Initiative Receives Boost from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust

March 24, 2011

A $165,000 grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust will provide for expansion of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library’s efforts to improve the reading and language development skills of young children up to five years old.

The Library’s Ready to Read project has built upon previous efforts to reach out to children in licensed home daycares and faith-based ministries by visiting 250 sites each month in Marion County, providing over 2,800 children with special story programs and Bunny Bags that include pre-packaged picture books convenient for parents and caregivers. Prior to the expansion of the Ready to Read initiative, the Library was able to visit only 674 children at 60 sites per month.

To serve the additional sites, the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust grant will allow IMCPL to purchase more Bunny Bags, available in English and Spanish, that contain 20 picture books and other resources needed to nurture preschool children’s early literacy skills. The grant will also help support the Library’s Early Learning Specialist responsible for developing, administering and monitoring programs throughout IMCPL’s 23-branch system, as well as outreach specialists to present programming and an evaluation consultant to measure the program’s success. In addition, the Library will increase the number and quality of computer-based learning experiences throughout the system.

"We are extremely grateful to the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust for giving us additional means to help Indianapolis children be ready for a successful start in school and become better readers," said Chris Cairo, IMCPL's Director of Program Development.

Research has proven that children gain crucial language skills by being exposed to books and listening to stories at a very early age. With more than 50 percent of Indianapolis children coming from homes where both parents work, more parents are turning to the city's licensed home daycares and registered ministry daycares. IMCPL is uniquely positioned in the community to serve these centers with free and accessible programming and materials.

The Library’s current five-year strategic plan identifies early literacy as one of the main goals to expand and improve services so that more children enter kindergarten ready to learn.

For more information on IMCPL's children’s programming, call 275-4099 or visit www.imcpl.org.