EPL believes children are important members of the library community. Learn how we support babies through our Welcome Baby program.
EPL’s award-winning Welcome Baby program puts books in the hands of families across Edmonton in two ways:
Welcome Baby Package
Parents receive a free Welcome Baby package from the Library during their baby’s two-month immunization at local Public Health Centres, the Enoch Health Centre and NICUs in area hospitals. Each package includes a board book, a music CD, a tote bag and early literacy information and book suggestions to empower parents as their child's first and best teacher.
More than a fun distraction at an otherwise stressful time, the Welcome Baby package introduces families to the library’s programs, services and collections that support literacy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome Baby - FAQs
Literacy impacts health and wellbeing, so we aim to connect families with materials that support language and literacy development. Research shows programs that place books in children’s homes are an effective tool in supporting early literacy and language development.
EPL's Welcome Baby early literacy packages are distributed at any Public Health Centre in Edmonton with your baby’s two-month immunization. They are also at the Royal Alexandra Hospital NICU and the Enoch Health Centre.
The packages are distributed at the following Alberta Health Services’ clinics:
Public Health Clinic Location Bonnie Doon Public Health Centre 8314 88 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta East Edmonton Health Centre 7910 112 Avenue NW, Edmonton, Alberta Northeast Community Health Centre 14007 50 Street, Edmonton, Alberta Northgate Health Centre 9499 137 Avenue (2nd level of Northgate Mall), Edmonton, Alberta Rutherford Public Health Clinic 11153 Ellerslie Road SW, Edmonton, Alberta Twin Brooks Public Health Centre 1110 113 Street, Edmonton, Alberta West Jasper Place Public Health Centre 9720 182 Street, Edmonton, Alberta Woodcroft Public Health Centre 13336 114 Avenue NW, Westmount Mall, Room 448, Edmonton, Alberta
Free Library Card
Parents receive a second free board book (also available in French) and an illustrated songs and rhymes booklet when they sign up their child 36 months of age of younger for a FREE library card. Sign up online or at any EPL location.
In August 2020, EPL won a global award for Welcome Baby based on its impact, innovation, and community engagement.
Why Welcome Baby
EPL developed the Welcome Baby program based on extensive research in early literacy. Here's what makes it special:
Available to all Edmonton families.
We partner with local healthcare providers to bring the Welcome Baby package to families at baby's two-month immunization.
Free books to keep.
Research clearly shows the importance of books in the home—it's an easy way to kickstart a child's early literacy development.
Parents as baby's first and best teacher.
Beyond the free book, parents receive early literacy information and tips to support their child's development at home.
“Regardless of how many books the family already has, each addition to a home library helps the children get a little farther in school. But the gains are not equally great across the entire range; instead they are larger at the bottom, far below elite level, in getting children from modest families a little further along in the first few years of school.”
From “Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations.” by M. D. R. Evans
Welcome Baby - Early Literacy
One of the easiest places to visit when you have a brand-new baby is the Library. It’s a great place to spend time, connect with the community, and get advice.
Not to mention, it’s completely FREE.
Here are just a few things you can do at any of our locations across Edmonton:
- Park your stroller inside the branch while you visit
- Find comfortable seating or hang out – in the children’s section, in the program room (before, during or after a class) or anywhere, really!
- Use your free library card to borrow children's material including books, music, audiobooks, movies, online interactive books and more.
- Breastfeed (ask staff about a private space to nurse or pump) and change your baby
- Attend one of our drop-in early literacy classes – our motto is “go with the flow” so don’t worry if you need to leave early or if your baby falls asleep, cries or needs a feed or a diaper change
- Drink a coffee and connect with other parents
- Get book recommendations from staff and advice about reading with your baby
- Check out the fish tank – there's one at every branch!
- Relax knowing you’re in a safe and welcoming space
We love seeing babies at the Library (even if they’re crying!) so stop by and say hello!
Getting Started with Early Literacy
EPL is here to support your child's language and literacy development, but there is so much you can do at home.
You have the most important job in the world and simply by spending time with your child, you are already doing it well. Starting from when your child is a baby, follow her interests and cues to create fun-filled, language-rich environments.
Here are some easy tips to get started:
- Snuggle in close while reading. This safe and loving connection supports your baby’s ability to learn new things.
- Read daily. Pick a time they’re in the mood for a cuddle and book.
- Read for any duration. Short, positive interactions are more important than long ones.
- Read favourite books over and over and over. Repetition deepens understanding.
- Read in silly, exaggerated voices when speaking as different characters or narrating.
- Read books with interaction like kisses and cuddles.
- Share books that have flaps, mirrors or textures and let your baby touch the book while reading.