The project will bring to children in the 1-6 years age group in low-income and underserved neighborhoods about 850 media items (books, games, videos). Those items will enrich the collections of 10 active libraries in small towns and villages and help them develop programs to stimulate early childhood reading; organize reading of children's books to both children and their parents; educate parents about the benefits of early childhood reading and train them how to read to their children at home.
Reading to children from an early age helps their social, emotional and cognitive development. Parents who read to their children build a strong connection with them and know better their problems and needs. Children need access to books, but this isn't affordable for many families in the low-income and underserved neighborhoods. Libraries can address that issue and enhance literacy development, but they don't have enough funding. 1/3 of Bulgarian libraries have not purchased new books in 2017.
850 books, games, videos for the 1-6 years age group will be selected, purchased and delivered to libraries that have no funds to buy new books but serve a large number of children from that age group. Those will be 10 libraries in small and remote settlements in mountain and border regions. Parents will be educated about the benefits of early childhood reading. There will be special promotions of the books and the project, as well as reading activities with those books for children and parents.
The successful implementation of the project will enrich the collections of participating libraries and will enhance the inclusion of more children and parents in library activities. It will improve the reading habits of both children and parents, will create a lasting interest in reading and love for the book. Librarians will acquire new skills for working with children from the 1-6 years age group.