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Community spirit drives a new reading program for babies


A new program launched by Walcha Council Library delivers hand made library bags filled with baby-friendly books to Walcha parents welcoming new arrivals.


The Baby's First Library Bag program has been modelled on a similar initiative by Inverell Library and was sparked by a local community member who offered to hand make the library bags for Walcha families.


Cassie McKenna, Library Services Coordinator at Walcha Council Library, said she hopes the initiative will encourage families to use the local library, get to know and use the library programs and read to their babies.


"Reading to your baby is such an important skill that parents need to feel comfortable doing," Ms McKenna, " We hope this pack will help the babies development, vocab skills and the enjoyment of reading."


Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes said the new program has been driven by local community members.


"It is inspiring to see so many people contributing to this community-driven initiative in partnership with our dedicated Walcha Council Library staff," Mayor Noakes said, "Their support and time given to hand sow these library bags is reflective of the goodwill and vision by the community that we often take for granted”.


The program is free of charge and available for all newborns in and around Walcha.


Child and Family Health nurses from Walcha Health Service will assist to deliver these bags to all new babies born in the Walcha district from September 2020.


Ms McKenna said as COVID-19 restrictions lift Walcha Library will recommence Story Time and Baby Book Time events and want to encourage all new parents to come along.


"We are in quite a small library space, once we have a few families here we are meeting our COVID-19 restrictions, " Ms McKenna said.


"As soon as things start to lighten up, we'll have everyone back in the library to sing, read and play."


Ms McKenna said the in-person library events help to create a supportive community for parents and caregivers.