Rebecca White, Braud, Emily
The Little Bookshelf Program is designed to help parents foster a love of reading in their child from birth. Research on early brain development shows that parents are the first and most important teacher in their child's life.
The program began in 2007 through a partnership with the LSU Mid City Pediatric Clinic in Baton Rouge, the LSU AgCenter and the First Book Hurricane Book Relief Project.
The goal of the program is to provide low-income parents with tangible resources and support to take personal action and develop the foundation for literacy in their child through daily reading time. Parents receive 12 children’s books (one each month), a small bookshelf and helpful parenting and literacy information during their child’s first year of life.
The Little Bookshelf Program builds awareness and inspires parents of newborns to perform their vital role as their babies' earliest teachers. The program encourages parents to develop a small library for their young child. In January 2008 the program expanded to serve families in the St. Helena Parish Public Health Unit. And by July 2009, the Little Bookshelf was serving as many as 1,000 newborns in 12 parishes throughout Louisiana. AgCenter Family Development professionals currently work with staff at parish health units, WIC offices and Early Head Start programs to serve families in Acadia, East Baton Rouge, Franklin, Iberville, LaSalle, Lafayette, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, Vermilion and Washington, West Baton Rouge parishes.
This LSU AgCenter program is dependent on private contributions and grant funding to serve parents of young children, primarily newborns. The program has received funding from private donations, multiple Children’s Trust Fund grants over the years and the Junior League of Baton Rouge. In addition to financial assistance, Junior League volunteers also work with the Little Bookshelf program at a multitude of community events promoting family literacy in the Baton Rouge area. For more information on how you might help with this program contact Dr. Becky White.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture