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New Library and United Way Project Focuses on Building Home Libraries

October 14, 2013

Early Readers Club - Jackie Nytes reading to childrenChildren up to age 6 can obtain and cherish their own free books as part of the Early Readers Club initiative announced by The Indianapolis Public Library and United Way of Central Indiana. The project will help families build a home library as part of a larger goal of preparing young children for school success.

Funded by UWCI, the Early Readers Club will allow children to select and take home one book each month from any of 11 Indy Library branch locations: Brightwood, Eagle, East Washington, East Thirty-Eighth Street, Flanner House, Fountain Square, Garfield Park, Haughville, Spades Park, West Indianapolis and the InfoZone (located in The Children's Museum). An attending adult must register participating children at any of the 11 Library locations to receive an Early Readers Club card that can be used to choose their free books. Participation ends when a child turns 6 years old.

In addition, the Library's Itty Bitty Bookmobile service will register preschoolers in 150 local child care centers as well as home and ministry child care centers to participate in the program. Each month, the Library's mini SUVs will drop off a book for each child in these targeted centers.

"This is another example of how the Library, with the tremendous support of the United Way of Central Indiana, can support the efforts of parents and day care leaders to prepare children for kindergarten," stated Jackie Nytes, Library CEO. "Our entire community will benefit from this project, since research clearly indicates that reading with and exposing children to books at an early age is a key to future academic success."

UWCI will provide 180,000 books for giveaways throughout the project, which is modeled after the national Dolly Parton Imagination Library initiative. An estimated 6,000 children are expected to be registered in the first phase, with a goal of eventually serving up to 15,000.

"Since United Way first became involved in early literacy in 2006, supporters have made it possible for more than 1.1 million books to be delivered to the homes of Central Indiana children," said Ann D. Murtlow, UWCI's president and CEO. "Our partnership with the Library will allow more low-income families to not only build their own home libraries, but also gain insight from the literacy experts on developing reading skills of young children through programs that complement the books."

The Early Readers Club is part of a spectrum of early learning initiatives offered by the Indy Library. These include the Bunny Book Bags, My First Library Card, 1,000 Books by Kindergarten, and the Itty Bitty Bookmobile Service called On the Road to Reading.

For more information on these and other Library activities for children, visit www.indypl.org