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Osceola Public Library gives children books for birthdays

Sheryl Hochstein, Library Assistant and Krista Woodard, OPL Children's Librarian hold some of the books available for the Books for Birthdays program
Sheryl Hochstein, Library Assistant and Krista Woodard, OPL Children's Librarian hold some of the books available for the Books for Birthdays program

The Osceola Public Library is starting a new program called Books for Birthdays for children from newborn through age 18.

The OPL will give any child a free book for their birthday to keep as a gift. Children can come in and choose from the selection of books at the OPL anytime during the month of their birthday.

The Library partnered with Scholastic a little over a year ago in their Scholastic Literacy Partnership program. Through this program they are able to buy books at deeply discounted prices with the commitment that the books will be put into the hands of children free of charge to build their own personal libraries.

“I realized the easiest way to get these books out to kids is by offering them as birthday presents,” said OPL Children’s Librarian Krista Woodard. “As true of any child, I always looked forward to receiving gifts on my birthday. But I especially looked forward to the book my grandma always included.”

To register, parent should use Google Doc Forms through the link provided on the Osceola Public Library Facebook page post regarding the program or through their website Osceola.lib.ia.us.

Within the first 24 hour of posting the information about the Books for Birthday’s program 18 kids had already been signed up.

“Not all kids have access to books in their own home, and in a perfect world that wouldn’t be true. And it’s especially true right now, as Covid-19 has created financial difficulties for so many families,” said Woodard. “Books offer us the opportunity of adventure without having to go anywhere, which is also difficult right now.”

Scholastic’s Literacy Parnership states on their web page that children raised in a home with books are 20 percent more likely to finish college and yet 61 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children.

“We are honored to be able to help celebrate their birthdays by letting them choose their own book,” said Woodard.

The OPL can also be contacted via email at osceolapubliclibrary@gmail.com or by phone at 641-342-2237.

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