Raising Readers Program Makes Book Donation to Maine Libraries

Augusta – In celebration of 15 years of fostering early childhood literacy in Maine, the Raising Readers program will donate a significant collection of new children’s books to small and rural libraries throughout Maine. This announcement was made today at the Reading Roundup conference of school and children’s librarians in Augusta.

The donation will provide between 15 and 20 new board and picture books to 120 Maine libraries in greatest need of new children’s book collections.

“Many small and rural libraries have been getting by in recent years with minimal resources for new books, especially children’s books” said Cassandra Grantham, Director of Raising Readers. “This donation recognizes the important role of those institutions in communities and enhances our shared goal of bringing books into the homes of Maine children.”

Since 2000, Raising Readers has worked to support early literacy by providing high-quality, developmentally appropriate hardcover books to every Maine child aged birth to five through partnerships with hospitals, medical practices and healthcare providers where the books are distributed at births and well-child visits. During that time, the program has reached 228,000 individual children and distributed more than 2.2 million books. Raising Readers is a collaboration between MaineHealth and EMHS and the nearly 360 hospitals and medical practices that give books to their patients. It has been generously funded by the Libra Foundation since its inception.

“Raising Readers has had an enormous impact in promoting family reading in Maine over the last 15 years,” said James Ritter, Maine State Librarian. “Maine libraries are grateful for their efforts.”

Over the last nine years, the program has also provided all Maine public libraries with an annual anthology of stories by Maine authors and illustrators.

“This partnership represents yet another way that Raising Readers and Maine libraries are able to work together to promote a love of books and reading for Maine children. Early literacy is a critical factor in the future success of children in Maine,” said Grantham.

For more information about the Raising Readers program, visit www.raisingreaders.org.