help put books into the hands of preschoolers in your community.
The gift of reading for one child becomes the gift of reading for many.
The idea to start "First Library" came after my friend, Diane, had her first child. I wanted to give my love of reading to her and her newborn child. I sent Diane some books as a gift for her to read to her newborn son, Lubin. I also sent her new clothing and educational toys).
Diane later explained that she was having a hard time finding English language children’s books to read to her son and that my books were the perfect gift for a new first time mother (from the United States living in France).
I began mailing her a new children’s book every month. Many of the titles were the childhood favorites of my own children.
Diane would call or write to tell me how she, and later her son Lubin, happily anticipated the arrival of their monthly book and the joy they received reading it together and how they both looked forward to reading time.
She especially enjoyed the comfort reading a book before bedtime brought to her son Lubin.
Later her husband, Pascal, a native Parisian, began to read to their son and was learning to read and write in English himself.
After a few years, Lubin, who was now reading his gift books by himself, proudly displayed and shared his ever-growing first library with friends and family.
I thought if one book could bring so much happiness, joy, and comfort to just one child, how much could it bring to multiple children?
It was then that I decided to create First Library®, a free book, toy and clothing program for new mothers.
I began researching ways to implement my program on a larger scale and discovered a national free book program already in operation but not operational in the State of New Jersey.
Each child, regardless of gender, race or income, registered in the free book gifting program received a book each month until the age of five.
I decided to offer this program as part of my program.*
This part the First Library program was originally available to all preschool children, not just newborns, until the age of five.
But after much thought and consideration, input by parents, and especially research on my part, I decided to make that program available to newborns only.
I wanted to recreate the happiness, joy, and comfort Lubin felt reading his first books plus the gratitude his first time mother, Diane expressed sharing the "First Library program" with her newborn son, while also requiring local library patronage.
And I wanted to give new first time mothers, like Diane, an opportunity to "earn" books, educational toys, and supplies aside from the free book program through free reading related activities tailored to their wants and needs.
The program, an incentive and reward program, was called First Library®.
Beyond the encouraged daily reading of the free book gifting program, First Library® parents could also earn points for free gifts (books and related items) with monthly library patronage to “shop” for more books at our First Library Shop®.
The First Library Shop offered first time mothers additional free books and educational toys during their child's first year of life by performing various free reading related activities through the First Library program.
An ADDED BONUS: First time mothers received gifts for continued participation.
I also decided to devise a program for first time mothers in need (First Baby) that was tailored to their and their first born child's special circumstances.
The program would give first time parents in need the original First Library book program, other books and gently used clothing and educational toys during their child's first three years of life by requiring parents to read to their child daily, submit a reading log, visit their local library monthly and perform various free reading related activities.
Just like the original First Library program was designed to fit my vision and mission, to include daily reading and required monthly library visits, I redesigned the First Baby program, now also First Library®, with the expanded new vision of the original and first First Library program, with an emphasis on healthy and responsible parenting.
I wanted to recreate the excitement, awe and inquisitiveness my children experienced with their continued and ever increasing exposure to books and literature while giving their parents the opportunity to "earn" educational toys and clothing during their child's first three years of life.
This new improved program better prepared children, the majority in need, for a lifetime love of reading and books.
And as an ADDED BONUS: First time mothers receive gifts for continued participation.
In closing, by refocusing our efforts on newborn and first born children only, First Library can bring the program to new families who are experiencing the love of reading for the first time plus encourage a respect and appreciation for literature, family reading time and library patronage.
I hope you will join me and bring every First Library program to every newborn child in New Jersey... and beyond.
Catherine Tinger Goldberg
P.S. As in life the best way to meet the needs of children is to go where you are most wanted and appreciated.
After over ten years of being a Free Book Gifting program affiliate and serving sixteen communities throughout the State of New Jersey, First Library, has refocused its efforts to promote library patronage by offering only new educational toys, supplies, children's clothing AND gifts from local businesses and professionals to expectant and new single first time mothers in need only enrolled in their program.
Plus, we've made the entire program virtual including our First Library Shop.
We have also refocused our efforts to bring the First Library program to more new communities across the United States by partnering with TO4TOT.
TOT4TOT, a charitable fundraising service, raises funds by parents pledging to Turn Off Tech 4 Two (hours) On Tuesdays (and their children's) to bring our program to the 20+ million children across America not enrolled in our and other reading programs.
Visit TOT4TOT.com and help give the joy of reading to children in your own community.
*First Library, the first and one time largest affiliate of the Free Book Gifting program in New Jersey for over ten years, is now independent of the program.
Thank you to the following professionals and companies for donating goods and services.
Michael M. Goldberg, Attorney-at-Law, Providence, RI.
J. Anthony Manger, Attorney-at-Law, Mountain Lakes, NJ.
Michael F Vernoia, Jr., CPA, VEBCPA, Somerville, NJ.
Charles J. Meyer, Attorney-at-Law, Indianapolis, IN.
James Howard, CEO, Entrepreneurial U. LLC., Morristown, NJ.
Thomas Hubbard, SCORE, Charlottesville, VA.
LJ Frank, Library Director (retired), Knox County Public Library, Knoxville, TN.
Mara Tettlebaum Goldberg, CPA, Hoboken, NJ.
Loantaka, LLC, Commercial Real Estate, Chatham, NJ.
Patrick Stewart, SCORE, San Diego, CA.