Children's Hospital Opens New Inpatient Library

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Wisconsin's First Lady Jessica Doyle and Dr. Dipesh Navsaria Cutting the Ribbon at the New Inpatient Library at the American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin
Wisconsin's first lady Jessica Doyle and Dr. Dipesh Navsaria cutting the ribbon to open the new Inpatient Library

MADISON - Green eggs and ham may actually be good for your child's health.


Or rather, reading about them is.


Children who read do better in school, have a more expansive vocabulary, and live healthier lives. Reading also helps children, and adults, cope with stressful times, such as when they are in the hospital.


Recognizing how critical reading is for kids, American Family Children's Hospital recently opened a new inpatient reading library, filled with more than 600 books for newborns through age 18.


"This is a day we've been looking forward to for a long time," said Ellen Wald, MD, chair of the UW Department of Pediatrics, at a recent dedication ceremony for the library. "I look forward to seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids who will be enjoying these books."


The idea for the library was championed by Dipesh Navsaria, MD, UW Health pediatrician and a trained librarian. Dr. Navsaria understands how critical reading is to a child's well-being. As a resident at American Family Children's Hospital, he was known for actually handing out prescriptions to read.

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria at the American Family Children's Hospital Library Dedication
Dr. Dipesh Navsaria explaining the importance of reading at the Inpatient Library Dedication


It was during his residency that he observed parents reading to their hospitalized children, yet there were few books available. He felt patients needed access to quality books, and the idea for an inpatient library soon formed.


"Reading is the fundamental skill for learning," said Dr. Navsaria, explaining the reason behind the library.


Fewer than half of U.S. children are read to by their parents, and among children from lower socio-economic backgrounds, the number is even lower.


Reading aloud to children improves their cognitive and language skills, and helps them be better prepared for school. And, a child's reading ability by the third grade is a strong predictor of their lifelong academic success.


Wisconsin's First Lady Mrs. Jessica Doyle and UW Health Pediatirican Dr. Dipesh Nivsaria
Mrs. Doyle at the library dedication

"As a teacher, I can't emphasize enough that reading really is the foundation," said Jessica Doyle, wife of Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, during the dedication ceremony. "Reading helps us expand our imagination and helps us develop the capacity to understand the human experience."


The library is professionally curated by the UW School of Library and Information Sciences. The collection includes picture books, juvenile and young adult fiction and audio books. There are even plans to tape American Family Children's Hospital physicians reading storybooks aloud and having them available on the hospital's closed circuit television so patients can read along as well.


"This incredible collection wouldn't have been possible without the generous community support, and we are so grateful," commented Jeff Poltawksy, vice president of American Family Children's Hospital. 


The library was the result of the support and collaborative efforts of individuals and groups across the UW campus and the Madison community, including the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, UW School of Library and Information Sciences, UW School of Medicine and Public Health, UW Department of Pediatrics, American Family Children's Hospital nursing staff, staff and administrators, the Cooperative Children's Book Center, Madison Public Library and the South Central Library System staff, the University Book Store, UW Foundation, and many others.


American Girl/Mattel also provided generous support for the library, as well as donations of several books.


"We are happy to be able to help by reaching out into the community with wonderful books," commented Carol Hay, Board President of American Girl's Fund for Children.


Even Mrs. Doyle brought a collection of books to donate, including the one she read aloud to the patients gathered at the ceremony, Two Sandals, Four Feet by Karen Lynn Williams.


"This really is a dream come true," said Mrs. Doyle, referring to the library. "The Governor and I are very proud of the partnership that made this exciting library a reality."


Date Published: 12/01/2009

News tag(s):  childrendipesh navsariaellen r waldouruwhealth

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