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Ellinwood Community Library launches Books for Babies Program
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Sara Wesner and her new baby, Titus, look over the Books for Babies gift bag, given to Titus through the Ellinwood Community Library. Titus, born August 23, 2013, was the first Ellinwood baby to receive a Books for Babies bag. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

The Ellinwood Library wants to reach its newest patrons with a new early literacy initiative called Books for Babies. The programs acquaints parents of newborns with the importance of books and reading in their child’s learning, even in the earliest months of infancy.
Through the Books For Babies Program, every newborn baby in Ellinwood will receive a gift bag with an age appropriate board book, a “Book Buddy” stuffed bear, and a baby bib that says “Read To Me.” The bag also includes a “Baby’s First Bookmark” which lists library information and reading tips and facts for babies.  
Finally, the bag supplies the forms necessary to enroll the child in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. Sponsored by the Ellinwood Public Education and Library Foundation and the United Way of Central Kansas, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program provides a free book every month to every enrolled child, ages 0 to 5, who live within the Ellinwood zip code area.
The first Ellinwood baby to receive a Books for Babies gift bag was Titus Andrew Wesner, born August 23, 2013. Titus is the son of Andy and Sara Wesner, who were excited to receive the Books for Babies gift bag.
The Books for Babies program is designed to encourage parents to engage in literacy activities with their babies. Early literacy does not mean teaching reading skills, but simply fosters the natural development of language skills through the enjoyment of books and positive interactions between babies and parents.
Reading aloud to babies is an ideal form of stimulation and research shows that those children develop significantly higher levels of language and communication skills. Sharing age appropriate books with an infant helps them to look, point, touch, and think, promoting learning and social skills.
Additionally, reading to an infant promotes a connection between reading and what that child loves the most, being close to other people that they love. They will associate happiness and comfort with learning and reading.
The Books for Babies Program was made possible through a grant from the Central Kansas Regional Library System and the Daulton Doll Memorial Project. The public is encouraged to contact the library if they know of any new infants born or expected in the Ellinwood.