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Knjige za Bebe - Books for Babies

Knjige za Bebe - Books for Babies

In Croatia a bookgifting programme for newborn children aims to raise awareness of the importance of reading to young children

Age group

Preprimary Age,Family Literacy

Policy Area

Creating a literate environment

People Involved

Families, Health and social workers, Librarians


• Raise parental awareness of the importance of encouraging reading and writing from the earliest years of childhood
• Encourage the broader public to create a positive atmosphere for reading and literacy from an early age


Knjige za Bebe -Books for Babies aims to decrease the risk factors of early literacy in the pre-school years by raising parental awareness of the importance of children’s early experiences with picturebooks. This book-gifting programme is framed by studies which have shown that children who have early experiences with picturebooks have better results during later school years.

Books for Babies was started in 1999 in Croatia as a collaborative project between Fran Galović, the main public library in Koprivnica, and the local county hospital. Koprivnica is capital of the northern Croatian county of Koprivnica-Križevci and has a population of around 30,000 people.

The library prepares packages containing a picturebook and leaflets about the importance of early reading and delivers them to the local hospital where they are given to the parents of all newborn children. Paediatricians also talk about the importance of early literacy in ante-natal classes.

By 2014, more than 11,000 children had received a book package and the number of newborn children becoming library members has gradually increased during the sixteen years of the project. However, as the authors of this good practice example recognise, currently it is less successful than they would hope. There is a low rate of long-term involvement in the project as shown by the fact that less that four percent of newborn children who received the book packages have become library members.

Since 2008,  the library has begun to develop a programme of activities for children under three and their parents. This programme of  library-based story telling sessions is run by educators, librarians and other experts and is aimed at parents and their children.

Project website

Project Materials

Promotional video