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Library expands picture book selection

Harper Robinson, 2, holds onto her stuffed dog, "Spot," and presses a dot in the book "Press Here" by Herve Tullet while Mayor Emily Larson reads to the group. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)1 / 2
Surrounded by patrons of the library, Mayor Emily Larson, Matt Cochran of Wells Fargo, Library Director Carla Powers, Supervisor of Youth Service sand Branches Sue Schumacher and Patra Sevastiades, executive director of the Duluth Library Foundation, hold up a few of the 250 books recently purchased by the library. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)2 / 2

The children's section of the Duluth Public Library had a few more adult visitors than usual last Wednesday. The Duluth Library Foundation, library staff, Wells Fargo representatives and Mayor Emily Larson gathered with young visitors in the space shortly after Storytime to celebrate a gift of 250 new children's picture books.

"Last year the Duluth Library Foundation, in consultation with library staff, set out to find funding for picture books for our youngest library users," said Patra Sevastiades, executive director of the Duluth Library Foundation. "Today we want to thank the Wells Fargo Foundation for their generous grant that has made it possible for the library to purchase an additional 250 books for our littlest library visitors."

The new books can be checked out from all three Duluth library locations. According to Carla Powers, library manager, the books are targeted for infants and toddlers to encourage parents to spend time reading with children. She said it was a priority for the library to purchase physical books rather than electronic gadgets, as it better helps children learn to read. "The American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out with a study that said that infants and toddlers cannot learn from digital media in the same way as when they learn with social interaction with a trusted caregiver and when there's a hands-on learning experience," Powers said. "So sharing print books with kids, holding them in your hands, turning the pages, talking about them together is one of the very best ways to prepare kids to read and succeed later in life."

The library will also use the funds to replace well-worn copies of classic children's books, increase copies of popular books to keep up with community demand and buy some early nonfiction books.

"Because even in preschool, not all kids like to read the same type of book," Powers said.

Mayor Emily Larson congratulated the library and thanked the foundation for the donation. When Larson served on City Council, she also served as liaison to the library.

"As a parent, I know the importance of literacy and learning letters. But it's also about the time you spend with your children, slowing down, enjoying each other's company and spending time with your child on your lap. That's why books are so important," Larson said. "I'm hoping we get a chance to read a book together."

After the press conference, Larson spontaneously read "Press Here" by Herve Tullet to a gathering of six toddlers and their parents.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

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