On Wednesday, September 22nd, the Queen Wilhelmina Library started its Book Start program. Book Start is a program to stimulate reading and is based on the principle that children who have books read aloud to them as a baby experience more pleasure in reading and are more motivated to learn to read. This program aims to enable parents with young children to enjoy books. 85% of libraries in The Netherlands offer the Book Start program. The Royal Library of The Hague, with Sander v. Kempen, introduced this to the libraries of the Dutch Caribbean and sent all the material and kits.
Parents with infants, along with other stakeholders, were in attendance at this special event. Dr. Ruth was the first to receive the kit that holds two Dutch books and one English book as she was the first woman of the year to have a baby for 2021 on the island.
During the launch, Public Health Nurse Tedisha Gordon from The Public Health & Sports Department, assisting young mothers and their babies, gave a PowerPoint presentation about the Book Start program. She touched on the importance of reading to babies and how this act also strengthens the bond between parent(s) and child.
The Public Health Department will collaborate with the library on this initiative, ensuring that at a baby’s first visit to the baby clinic, they can receive a voucher to come to the library and receive a Book Start kit.
The Commissioner of Education, Mr. Rolando Wilson, could not attend the launch due to a conflicting engagement. Still, in his speech that Head Librarian Mrs. Joanna Simmons read, he also stressed the importance of reading and combating illiteracy. Everyone present enjoyed the launch program and was excited to receive their kit to start their journey to introduce their baby to the beautiful world of books and reading.