Parents and babies at the launch of “Babies love Books” at GJB Public Library. At far left is Janniska Woodley and next to her is library board Vice President Leonora Sneek-Gibbs.
ST. EUSTATIUS--Austrian author Emilie Buchwald once said, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” Gertrude Judson Bicentennial (GJB) Public Library of St. Eustatius has taken this wisdom to heart and is giving parents a starter case to inspire an early reading culture in their newly-born offspring.
Sponsored by the government of the Netherlands, the starter cases are part of a programme called “Babies love Books”.
Library staff member and pioneer of the reading programme Janniska Woodley is convinced that introducing the very young to the printed word is smart. “Readers become leaders. Written and spoken words dominate our thinking, communication and creativity. Education is such that an early starter usually remains smarter. Encouragement is everything,” she said.
Parents who register their babies with the library will now receive a starter case containing two basic ABC books in the Dutch language. According to library board vice president Leonora Sneek-Gibbs, the fact that the books are printed in the Dutch language does not present a practical problem.
“Tots before the age of seven years are capable of reading and speaking many languages. We live on a Dutch island that is multicultural and multilingual. We should all embrace that experience,” Sneek-Gibbs said
Woodley says her library shelves house one of the largest collections of children’s books in the Caribbean. “Our children’s corner is home to well over a million pages of imagination, discovery and learning,” she noted.