Early Literacy Calendar Inspires Librarian in India

Since 2006, Omaha Public Library (OPL) has produced an Early Literacy Calendar with support from the Omaha Public Library Foundation and various other health and education focused groups. The 2012 calendar was produced in cooperation with Building Bright Futures, Early Childhood Services, Healthy Futures, and Rotary International. The goal of the calendar is to promote early literacy (pre-K) and health by sharing tips for parents and caregivers. The calendar also lists special events at the library and provides book recommendations and other community resources for families with young children.

With 15,000 copies printed and distributed through day care and health centers, libraries, community centers and more, it’s difficult to say how far they might reach or what kind of difference they may make. That is until we recently received this email from Anne in India:

Dear Director, Omaha Public Library and team, & Building Healthy Futures team,

In appreciation for the marvelous Early Literacy Calendar that you have produced, I created one here in India for the Indian context, featuring Indian families. I wanted to share it with you to say thanks to all of you. Here’s the story, from one librarian to another:

In the Early Literacy 2011-12 calendar, our nephew’s wife and son are pictured in the month of May. Felishia and Christopher were regulars at your library, especially the story time. She sent us copies of your calendar and we were so thrilled. I was inspired to try an Indian edition here. For years I have been giving new parents and grandparents a board book, a snuggly hat, finger puppets, and some tips for how to read and why, following the ALA Born to Read concept. Reading books before going to school is a new idea for most people here. But our experience with our own son and daughter demonstrated loud and clear what a difference books can make for babies. I wanted to share that joy, and felt the Omaha Public Library calendar style would work here. You will find Christopher in December’s photo in my calendar, along with my husband.

A page from the calendar produced by Anne for South Indian families.

A page from the calendar produced by Anne for South Indian families.

The calendar serves as a great “friendly reminder” every day. Such beautiful calendars are only now becoming available in South India where we are. My colleague scanned your 2011-12 calendar and turned it into a screen saver, so we still enjoy it every day.

Felishia and family recently moved to another state, but their fond memories of Omaha Public Library, the Children’s Museum and Lauritzen Gardens will always set the standard for them. We are really impressed with Omaha’s wonderful offerings, especially for children and families.

I hope you keep producing the calendar. I have distributed about 400 copies of my calendar to friends, students, doctors, young parents, teachers & schools here in Tamil Nadu mostly. Also copies went to Tulika children’s publisher, whose books are in some of the photos. Some copies went to friends in Germany, Australia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Maldives and even South Sudan and Malawi. The response is enthusiastic! Maybe someone else will be inspired to launch book reading programs with infants. So your influence is reaching every continent (except Antarctica).  I have already started working on ideas for 2016. Incorporating health and nutrition information as you do is one of the features I’m working on.

Thank you for all that you do to improve people’s lives. Your efforts are worth every hour you invest.
with gratitude,
Anne in India
The photo that inspired the email is one that I remember well. I took it during a storytime at Main Library at the end of Summer Reading Program. There was a celebration with a pinata. Christopher was very shy – to the extent that I abandoned my camera at one point to collect goodies for him since he was hesitant to jump into the fray.
Christopher and Felishia

Christopher and Felishia

Anne has assured me that Christopher has really broken out of his shell and become quite bold. Not only that, but he loves to read! We’re pleased to know that a morning outing to storytime at OPL has resulted in sharing literacy and healthy living tips around the globe.


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