COOPERSTOWN – Five local libraries and Better World Books (BWB), with a grant from the Four County Library System, will provide the parents of 1,000 babies born at Bassett Hospital with their new baby’s first book and a hand-sewn tote to carry it home in.
Barbara Potter, who works at Kinney Memorial Library in Hartwick, pulled the project together. She pooled funds from the Springfield, Cherry Valley, Huntington (Oneonta), Cooperstown (Friends of the Library) and Kinney libraries to buy material to make the totes and reached out to BWB. When BWB learned of the initiative, it offered to donate all 1,000 books.
“Better World’s generous response really got the wheels moving on this,” says Potter. “With the books in hand, I reached out to find people to help sew the totes and within a short amount of time several people and a quilting group volunteered for the project. We’re almost at 1,000 bags already. I hope this helps bring more families into our libraries to take advantage of the programs we offer.”
The individual quilters who helped complete the tote bags for the book project included: Harriet Rozelle of Mount Vision, who made more than 350 bags; Diane McGrath, Elisabeth Crady and Claire Ottman of Cherry Valley, who made over 400 bags; Tina Winstead of Oneonta contributed 12 bags, and Flo Loomis and her Mount Vision quilting group also contributed 12 bags.
Potter brought the first installment – 100 children’s board books and hand-sewn totes – to the Bassett Birthing Center May 29.
Robin Stasilli, nurse manager in the birthing center, notes, “Reading aloud to your baby is a wonderful activity, provides positive stimulation and enhances bonding. And, it’s an activity you can continue for years to come.”
In addition to the book, each of the totes also contains a library flyer explaining the benefits of reading to your children and a bookmark from each of the libraries that participated in the project.