San Rafael, CA – Local libraries are partnering with Marin Community Clinics, opens a new window (MCC) and First 5 Marin, opens a new window to provide free books and a “Prescription for a Library Card” to young children who visit the doctor for their well-checks.
The Marin County Free Library (MCFL), San Rafael Public Library, opens a new window, and Larkspur Library, opens a new window have connected with Marin Community Clinics to ensure local children get books to enjoy and that they learn about all the programs at their local libraries.
Hollman came up with the library prescription idea at a recent meeting at First 5 Marin. She realized that many children have never visited the library and that doctors can change that by encouraging families when they bring their child in for a well-check.
After a medical appointment, children will be able to select free books at the clinic and then they will receive printed “prescriptions” with information about their local libraries.
“We want every child to learn to love reading, wherever they are!” said MCFL Director Lana Adlawan. “We are delighted to have pediatricians from the Marin Community Clinics endorse the importance of community libraries and literacy by giving children a fun prescription.”
The partnership between the clinics and the libraries will bring new books into more homes and connect young patients and their families to their neighborhood library branches where they can attend fun and educational programs, find more books as they grow older, and deepen their connection to their communities.
“The disparity between kids in Marin became more obvious to me during the pandemic,” Hollman said. “While I had my young kids reading library books throughout the day, my patients were often spending much of their time watching screens. I wanted my patients to have access to the resources that I provide my own children.”
Getting families engaged with local libraries and encouraging young children to read can foster healthy brain development, a love of reading, and skills critical for school success.
“Bringing books into the homes of children is one of the best ways to encourage early literacy,” said San Rafael Mayor Kate Colin. “We are excited that the San Rafael Public Library is partnering with Marin Community Clinics to better serve the Canal neighborhood and its residents with books in both English and Spanish.”
The books for the clinic are provided through the generous support of the Canal Alliance, Copperfield’s Books, the Friends of the Marin County Free Library, and the Friends of the Larkspur Library, opens a new window. Community members interested in contributing in support of the program may visit the Friends of the Library websites.
Hollman can attest to the early success of the program. “I have already seen so many smiles on the faces of kids when they get to leave with a new book they love,” she said.
In addition to the library prescriptions, First 5 Marin has partnered with MCFL to distribute 1,800 Summer Learning tote bags, opens a new window to young children in Marin, filled with school and art supplies as well as a free book. The First 5 Commission approved $25,000 to fund the purchase of all the supplies, and MCFL provided the tote bag and the books. The bags have been distributed all over the county this summer at regular stops made by the Learning Bus.
Marin County Free Library
Raemona Little Taylor
Marin County Free Library