Ipswich babies get literacy boost

Baby Mackenzie is just two days old, but she’s already enjoying the benefits of reading.

Her mum, Claudia, was excited to receive a literacy starter pack as part of the Books for Babies initiative, which aims to encourage reading to children from birth.

“I love reading books to my son Ryan, who’s almost three, so it will be really nice to enjoy doing it together,” said the Raceview mum of two.

“I think it’s great that they’re given out to all babies born in Ipswich.”

The Books for Babies literacy pack includes a library bag, board book, It’s Rhyme Time Booklet & DVD, and information on literacy development and library programs and resources.

More than 10,500 book packs have been given to Ipswich families since Books for Babies began.

Now in its 13th year, the program was started by the Friends of Ipswich Libraries and is funded by the Friends group and Ipswich City Council, and delivered in partnership with Ipswich Hospital and St Andrew’s Ipswich Private Hospital.

“To our knowledge, Ipswich City Council is the only local government in Australia that funds this type of service for all babies born in the district,” said Sylvia Swalling, Manager of Libraries and Customer Services.

“It’s a wonderful initiative that demonstrates our commitment to providing as many early learning opportunities as possible to children in Ipswich.

“The more support and opportunities we provide to young families, the more it contributes to the liveability of the city.”

Members of Friends of Ipswich Libraries meet each month to pack the literacy packs for Books for Babies

Vice President of Friends of Ipswich Libraries, Eirys Jones, said volunteers met once a month to pack the gift bags, which are delivered every fortnight to hospitals in Ipswich.

“Research tells us that reading to children from a very young age not only opens the world to a love of books, but it also helps in the development of literacy, social and emotional skills,” she said.

“Children learn to love reading on the laps of their parents.”

Ipswich Hospital’s Midwifery Manager Lisa Charmer with Claudia, baby Mackenzie and Friends of Ipswich Libraries volunteer Laureen

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