St. Louis County Library is partnering with area hospitals to encourage parents to read to their newborns from the day they are born. The Library Foundation provides the family with a tote bag consisting of a book, toy, instructive reading information, baby's first library card, a Cardinals baby beanie cap, and an invitation to a one year anniversary party at the Library where they receive a second book. All hospitals with birthing services in St. Louis County participate in the program.

6,500 families received tote bags in 2015 thru 4 hospitals. With the expansion of the program,15,000 families will participate in 2016 thru seven hospitals and 10 pediatric clinics. The period between birth and age three is the most critical time in a child's brain development. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to read aloud to children beginning in infancy.