Lisa Bullock and Janet Walsh to Commemorate National Library Week and Week of the Young Child

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2013
Contact: Sara Groves
(406) 444-5357

(HELENA) — The Montana State Library (MSL) is pleased to announce that Lisa Bullock, wife of Governor Steve Bullock, and Janet Walsh, wife of Lt. Governor John Walsh, will participate in a "Books and Babies" program at the Lewis & Clark Library on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. The Lewis & Clark Library is located at 120 South Last Chance Gulch in downtown Helena.

Mrs. Bullock’s and Mrs. Walsh’s participation in the "Books and Babies" program will commemorate the start of National Library Week and the Week of the Young Child. National Library Week is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. The Week of the Young Child focuses public attention on the needs of young children and their families and recognizes the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

"Research suggests there is no greater investment than in early childhood education," said Lisa Bullock, Montana’s First Lady. "Across Montana, the local public library serves as a community hub for healthy child and family development and affords all parents of young children access to age appropriate reading materials and a 21st Century learning environment that will reap rewards for society far into the future."

In 2009, the Montana State Library launched a statewide effort called Ready 2 Read to help parents and caregivers understand the value of sharing language and literacy with their children beginning at birth. The program has provided collections of high-quality children’s books and toys to libraries, early childhood training to librarians, and extensive information and training to parents and caregivers from throughout Montana on the importance of sharing books, language, and love with children from birth forward. The Lewis & Clark Library’s "Books and Babies" program is a direct result of the Ready 2 Read effort.

"It really does take a village to raise a child and libraries are at the heart of the communities they serve," said Janet Walsh, a paraeducator in one of Helena’s Title I elementary schools. "Parents need to know that their local library has everything they need to help their child get ready for school and ready for life. Parents can use their local public library’s many resources to help them prepare for the critical role as their child’s first teacher."

The Ready 2 Read early learning initiative builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement, and supportive communities play a critical role in young children’s growth and development. Montana public library collections, along with the library’s knowledge of its community’s resources, can serve as a fountain of accurate and reliable information for parents and caregivers as they undertake the most important job of raising a child. Through programming, outreach, and materials available for check out, Montana libraries have a unique ability to interact with local families and caregivers with young children and provide educational opportunities to which these families might otherwise not have access.

"Montana libraries and the Montana State Library have a responsibility to our citizens to continually evolve to provide more and better services," said State Librarian Jennie Stapp. "As research continues to demonstrate the importance of the earliest years in a person’s development and how critical this period is individually and on a societal level, it is critical that Montana libraries play a key role in helping our youngest develop the life skills they need. We are grateful for the support of Mrs. Bullock and Mrs. Walsh and their recognition of the roles libraries play in getting our children ready to read."

For more information on the Ready 2 Read early literacy initiative, visit http://ready2readmontana.org or contact Sara Groves at (406) 444-5357 or at sgroves@mt.gov.

About the Montana State Library
Through its statewide programs, the Montana State Library empowers Montanans; enhances learning in families and communities; builds 21st Century skills; and provides opportunities for civic participation. For more information, visit http://msl.mt.gov.

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