St. Louis County Library is teaming up with the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) to provide library materials to new and expecting mothers. The collaboration delivers valuable information about parenting and childcare to first-time moms who might not otherwise be able to visit the library.
The program works within the existing NFP framework: nurses visit low-income, first-time moms in their homes to give health and wellness tips and to monitor the condition of mom and baby. SLCL sends pregnancy and childcare books for the clients, most of whom are teen-aged women who have few transportation options, and so rarely visit a library.
"It's an audience we wouldn't otherwise be able to reach," says Colleen Hall, Manager of Outreach Services for the library. "And for the participants, this program is like water in the desert."
Latoya, a client, agrees.
"I love the books the library sends. I'm reading to my son and we both love it," she says, as her son Dayvion crawls toward the newest pile of library books. "I used to make up bedtime stories for him. The library books are much better."
The library created a variety of kits for the program containing a mix of books, DVDs and music CDs. Some kits contain information for expectant moms, some for those with newborns or with toddlers. The nurses deliver a kit, pick up the old one, and rotate them among all their clients. The kits stay at the nurses' office. To date the program has circulated over 1,600 kits and over 13,000 books through the partnership.
Program leader Vanessa Davis called the national office of the Nurse Family Partnership to encourage others to partner with their local libraries.
"Right now the program is unique, but it is easy to replicate."
For St. Louis County Library, working with the Nurse Family Partnership is inspiring.
"Programs like this remind me why I went into library work," Hall says.
To learn more about SLCL's collaboration with Nurse Family Partnership, please contact Colleen Hall, Outreach Services Manager, at 314-994-3300 ext. 2330.