Left to Right: Janet Skupsky, Chief Operating Officer, Milton District Hospital; Mayor, Town of Milton, Gordon Krantz; Brittney Lee and Baby Grace ; Jeanna Hough, Clinical Library & Patient & Family Health Information Centre, Halton Healthcare; Jocelyn Leworthy, Child Life Specialist, Halton Healthcare; Becky Andrade, Executive Director, Milton Community Resource Centre; Chris Dorscht, Director, Customer Experience, Milton Public Library.
By focusing on newborns, MPL looks to start the literacy journey right from the beginning, creating an inclusive and supportive environment for families. Sarah Douglas-Murray, CEO and Chief Librarian of MPL states: “At Milton Public Library we recognize the immense potential within our littlest library patrons. The early years are a critical period where the seeds of literacy are sown, and the foundation for a lifelong love of reading is laid. The Baby Bee’s First Reads program, in collaboration with two outstanding community partners, will provide Milton families with a resource kit tailored for newborns, with the aim of fostering a love for literacy that will endure throughout their lives.”
As each family leaves from Milton District Hospital (MDH) for home, they will receive a Baby Bee’s First Reads voucher in their discharge package to redeem on their first visit to Milton Public Library. Upon presentation of the voucher at any branch of MPL, families will be provided with a free kit which includes:
- Baby’s first Library Card
- A reusable, Baby Bee’s First Reads tote bag
- “Where is Baby’s Belly Button?” book
- Urdu, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi and French books available upon request
- 1000 Books Before Kindergarten tracker and growth chart
- Early literacy resources from MPL and MCRC to support growing families
- MPL Children’s book mark
- Bookmark to guide parents to Halton Healthcare’s online Patient and Family Health Information Centre
- Town of Milton walking tracks voucher offering a free trial
Milton District Hospital, serving over 1,500 newborns and their families annually, recognizes the importance of this collaboration in supporting families as they embark on the journey of parenthood.
“I cannot think of a better way to kick-off the New Year than with such an inspiring program – one that promotes health and early literacy and enriches lives,” says Janet Skupsky, Chief Operating Officer, MDH. “Through this delightful community collaboration, Halton Healthcare can play an even bigger role in the lives and health education of our young families and newest community members.”
Families can access reliable health information about medical or child development topics ranging from food allergies, breastfeeding to autism resources online through the Patient and Family Health Information Centre. Halton Healthcare wants families to have support in developing health literacy skills in their children, and knowing where to access them.
Milton Community Resource Centre (MCRC) is a not–for-profit, multi-service organization that provides services to children and families of Milton and the surrounding communities. MPL is grateful for the financial contribution of MCRC in making the first year of the Baby Bee’s First Reads program possible.
Becky Andrade, Executive Director at MCRC, expresses her excitement about supporting MPL's Baby Bee’s First Reads campaign, emphasizing the initiative's role in fostering a lifelong love of reading and learning within the community.
“Milton Community Resource Centre is incredibly pleased to be supporting Milton Public Library with their Baby Bee’s First Reads” adds Becky. “It is through initiatives like this that our community comes together and fosters a lifelong love of reading and learning. MCRC and Milton Public Library share a mutual goal of supporting children and families through the provision of programs and supports that are high quality, inclusive, accessible, and affordable. By providing families with books and resources from the moment they welcome their new babies, we strengthen our community and raise awareness of the amazing resources that exist within Milton.”
By prioritizing early literacy, Milton Public Library aims to significantly contribute to the educational landscape of the community. The Baby Bee’s First Reads program goes beyond the traditional role of a library, becoming a dynamic space where families can bond, share experiences, and actively participate in their children's learning journey. As a result, the Baby Bee’s First Reads program stands as a testament to the library's dedication to holistic community development, making it an invaluable asset for the residents of Milton.
The program officially begins, January 4th, 2024. For more information, visit www.beinspired.ca.