August 12, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Silvana Quiroz
(301) 699-3500, ext. 6154
Largo, MD – Prince George’s County residents with newborns at University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center have a special opportunity to kickstart a love of reading for their children thanks to a new partnership between the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS), the PGCMLS Foundation, and University of Maryland (UMD) Capital Region Medical Center. Families who give birth at the hospital can now enroll their children in PGCMLS’ Books from Birth program before returning home, and for a limited time they will receive a baby bundle tote as a thank you (while supplies last). The totes include early literacy resources, library information, a board book, rattle, and finger puppet.
Books from Birth provides a free book by mail to children in the county until they turn five years old. The program encourages reading at an early age and prepares young children for kindergarten by cultivating essential literacy skills. Made possible by PGCMLS and the Prince George’s County government, Books from Birth started in July 2017 thanks to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and funding from the county government. To date, over 23,700 children under the age of five in Prince George’s County have received free books mailed to their home to build their home library. There are currently over 13,500 participants, the highest number of Books from Birth registrants for a public library system in Maryland.
Beginning in May 2022, the UMD Capital Region Medical Center in Largo piloted this partnership with the Library to assist families with newborns in registering for Books from Birth. In celebration of the full partnership launch, the PGCMLS Foundation, which supports the Library’s mission, contributed funds to offer 250 baby bundle totes to thank families that register for Books from Birth at UMD and another local hospital.
“The staff of PGCMLS are thrilled to be able to work with the UMD Capital Region Health Center to reach new families with our Books from Birth program! We hope that the materials inside of the Baby Bundle totes will encourage parents in their role as their child's first and best teacher! The totes can serve as a baby bag and a reminder to think of the library as a resource for the whole family.” Pam Hamlin, Family Literacy Specialist at the Program Services Department of PGCMLS stated.
On Monday, August 8, PGCMLS leadership delivered the first batch of baby bundle totes to the hospital, where they were accepted by Dr. Stacey Little, Vice President of Women's and Infants' Services and Community and Population Health and Mariela Alvarez, Social Worker. Library staff participating included Michael B. Gannon and Nicholas A. Brown, Acting Co-Chief Executive Officers, Megan Sutherland, Interim Chief Operating Officer for Public Services, and Pam Hamlin, Family Literacy Specialist.
“The Library and PGCMLS Foundation are tremendously grateful to Dr. Little and her team for prioritizing literacy as an essential part of early childhood development,” said Nicholas A. Brown, Acting Co-Chief Executive Officer, PGCMLS. “This type of strategic partnership is a win-win for county residents, who can benefit from library services and programs in life’s biggest moments.”
How it Works
Families discharged from UMD Capital Region Medical Center are offered the opportunity to register for PGCMLS’ Ready 2 Read Books from Birth program before leaving the hospital. Social workers meet with each family before they are discharged and could share our bilingual registration form with families, and even fill out the form with them if necessary. A QR code is on each form so families can opt to register on their phones. For more information please visit pgcmls.info/FreeBooks.
About the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 967,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve book lovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike. PGCMLS is the recipient of the 2021 Urban Libraries Council Top Innovator Award for Workforce and Economic Development. Learn more at pgcmls.info/about-us.