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A young kid reading

The Baby Steps of a Lifelong Reader: How Libraries Fosters Early Literacy.

Submitted by Editor on 11 April 2024

By Aishat Sanusi

Let's be honest – who ever thought that a toddler's favorite hangout would be the library. Books were not the fun-thing as kids for many adults, and the library always seemed like this stuffy, intimidating place. But hey, necessity makes you do things you never expected. Desperate for an indoor activity that didn't involve sitting with NETFLIX, a friend suggested storytime at a local library to my sister. Turns out, that was the day my nephew and his mother both fell in love with books.

Don't get me wrong, it was chaotic at first. Our little guy was more interested in chewing the book covers than listening to anyone, not even the patient librarian. But something clicked. The vibrant pictures, the silly songs, and even just seeing other kids captivated by books – it sparked some kind of fascination for reading in him. And it turns out their experience is not unique.

Libraries are powerhouses for raising those tiny readers right from day one! Here's how they get those little gears turning:

The Building Blocks - Board Books & Beyond 

Libraries aren't just about those dusty classics.There are children's sections bursting with sturdy board books, interactive touch-and-feel books, and picture books with every theme imaginable. It's a sensory feast for babies and toddlers, and helps them make that connection between colorful pages and the fun of stories.

What else? Storytime! 
I cannot overstate the excitement of storytime. Librarians aren't just reading, they're performing! The songs, the puppets, the sheer energy they bring... it's mesmerizing for those little ones. Plus, it models for parents how to make reading engaging and playful.

Storytime with kids in a library


Nurturing A Community of Little Bookworms

One of the best things about the library is, well, the other kids!  Seeing peers excited about books fosters a positive reading culture. My nephew loves pointing at the books other kids are carrying. It turns choosing books into its own little adventure.

Expert Advice (And It's Free!) 
Librarians are like early literacy ninjas. They'll help you find those perfect books for your baby's developmental stage, or give you tips to turn reading at home into a bonding experience.

These programs aren't just fun, they have a serious impact:

Did you know that kids exposed to reading at a young age develop larger vocabularies and stronger pre-reading skills? It sets them up for success in school and beyond. My friends and I are living proofs of that.

And it's not just about academics. Books help babies develop empathy by learning about different characters and experiences. They get introduced to new ideas and cultures, fostering a sense of curiosity about the world.

My sister is eternally grateful to the friend who nudged her toward the library. Now, books are a constant in her family –  from snuggly bedtime stories to discovering new favorites on their library visits. She is building not just a reader, but a life-long learner – and the library's been their partner every step of the way.

If you are within or around Ikoyi, Lagos, you don't need to look too far for a library that will help your child keep busy and develop during this holiday period. Feel free to bring your kids for a tour or even regular visits at our library at 196, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos state, Nigeria.