St. Louis Public Library Receives $200,000 Gift in Support of Early Childhood Literacy

The St. Louis Public Library Foundation received a $200,000 donation from the Dana Brown Charitable Trust. The gift supports Born To Read, St. Louis Public Library’s early childhood initiative.

As a leader in early childhood literacy and learning, St. Louis Public Library provides programs, materials and services for families with children birth to age eight. SLPL provides the youngest in our community with a strong foundation in literacy and a connection to their public library and its resources.

Since launching the Born to Read initiative in 2017, SLPL has provided programming and services for over 100,000 children and their families each year. Funding received from Dana Brown Charitable Trust was crucial to the Library’s ability to launch this initiative, which supports early childhood programming including; summer camps, Sensory Storytimes, Baby Bookworms, Storytime Theater and virtual interactive Storytimes.

In addition to programming, SLPL created a dedicated Early Childhood Outreach Team (ECOT) to work with area daycare centers, early childhood centers and schools. The ECOT supports early childhood literacy curriculum, expands classroom libraries and provides Storytime programming. The ECOT provides Born To Read bags at area hospitals and health clinics for parents and their newborns. SLPL’s Born to Read bags include a baby's first book along with tips and resources to promote literacy development during a child’s early years.

Even while facing the many challenges of the year, SLPL has been able to provide extensive literacy outreach to the region's young ones. SLPL adapted its programs to reach children in their homes and in their neighborhoods through virtual Storytimes, summer challenge kits distribution at neighborhood schools, free virtual summer camps, mailed summer camp kits for camps available offline, and much more. Efforts like these are made possible thanks to the commitment of funders like Dana Brown Charitable Trust. 

"We are fortunate to have an early childhood literacy partner in Dana Brown Charitable Trust. With their generous support, St. Louis Public Library is able to provide the tools, programming and resources to engage the youngest and most vulnerable in our community while fostering a love of reading and learning that will grow with them throughout their lives," said Waller McGuire, CEO of St. Louis Public Library.

“Dana Brown Charitable Trust is proud to partner with the St. Louis Public Library on its Born To Read literacy initiative. It is through programs such as this that our children learn the joy of reading at an early age. During this challenging time it is critical that we all make a commitment to help our young children stay engaged with reading. This is the best investment we can make for our collective future," said Dan Watt, Executive Director of the Dana Brown Charitable Trust. 

St. Louis Public Library Foundation (SLPLF) is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to support the St. Louis Public Library's programs and services through advocacy and fundraising.

The Dana Brown Charitable Trust honors the legacy of St. Louis entrepreneur, philanthropist, and adventurer, Dana Brown. For the last 24 years, the Dana Brown Charitable Trust has continued Dana Brown’s personal mission to share his self-made fortunes to enrich the lives of his fellow St. Louisans.