Evanston City Clerk Stephanie Mendoza and EPL start babies on the path to literacy with Welcome Baby kits

May 17, 2023

EVANSTON, IL — Literacy starts early in Evanston, thanks in part to a new joint initiative between the Evanston Public Library and the office of Evanston City Clerk Stephanie Mendoza.

Since the start of 2023, new parents requesting birth certificates for their newborns from the Evanston City Clerk’s office have been gifted a Welcome Baby Kit containing Baby’s First Book, an Evanston Public Library bib, and additional resources to help new parents set their little ones on the path to lifelong learning.

“Children learn about reading and writing well before they actually begin to read and write,” said Jan Bojda, Evanston Public Library’s Early Learning and Literacy Manager. “Reading to even the littlest ones makes a big impact on Baby’s development and on how they interact and engage with the world.”

Reading to children right from the start has been shown to improve language skills, bonding, imagination and emotional learning, and helping children establish routines. Further, a regular habit of reading together with your infant or toddler prepares them to succeed in – and enjoy – kindergarten.

More than 30 families have already taken home the new kits in 2023.

“The City of Evanston Clerk’s Office is excited to promote early literacy with the Evanston Public Library,” Mendoza said. “I am eager to help introduce our youngest residents to literacy, which can help build language skills, confidence, and reading skills as they grow. This program is personal to me; as a child, I relied on our local library to access books and programs. I want to help reach parents even sooner to ensure all children have equitable opportunities and access to reading.”

In addition to the Welcome Baby kits, the Evanston Public Library offers families many resources for their infants and young children to play, learn and explore their world through early literacy programs and services. EPL’s Young & the Restless Storytime for ages 0-2 pairs stories with singing and and play, and our Talk Read Sing texts send new parents weekly tips for building early literacy by text message in English and Spanish.

Plus, it’s never too early for Baby’s First Library Card. Our children’s librarians are available to help you and your youngest bibliophile pick out the perfect book they’ll want to hear you read again, and again…and again.

To learn more about all the early literacy programs and resources available to spark a love of lifelong learning in your little one, visit www.epl.org/early-literacy. For more information on all the services provided by Evanston County Clerk Stephanie Mendoza, visit https://www.cityofevanston.org/residents/city-clerk-s-office.


Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

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