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Hospital Storyteling Library in a Hospital: Leveraging available resources to pilot services required from the library with a view towards a hospital branch/location.

Hospital Storytelling has existed since 1999, however BPL has served Brooklyn Hospitals since 1924.  A Brooklyn Daily Eagle article from May 1936 listed the library serving 12 hospitals.  Currently the Hospital Storytelling program dispatches readers monthly to read aloud and distribute free gift books to children in medical facilities throughout Brooklyn.  It’s the only program of its kind in the country, and likely the world, consistently providing services to children in hospitals who are often underserved.  The question is how do we make innovations in a service existing for almost 100 years?

Times have changed.  Gentrification, homelessness, and displacement, along with hospital closure and mergers, in addition to ongoing debates and reforms about healthcare affordability and immigration, and most recently the rise of urgent care centers all impact on how people access medical services. Despite these obstacles people need medical care, but reaching this population becomes increasingly challenging.  It is incumbent upon those of us in areas of public service and education to be nimble and creative in conducting perpetual outreach targeted at stakeholders.

The Flatbush library is the closest branch, seven blocks from the Kings County and SUNY Downstate hospital complexes.  BPL incubator funding will allow for an exploration of how best to serve Brooklyn medical institutions, and deepen our relationships.  We will introduce new elements, as well as expand existing services enabling the program to extend beyond current parameters.  Board of Education (P403) teachers who cover pediatric inpatient wards are always looking for ways to enhance current capacities, with limited resources. Pediatric patients need to meet the rigors of academic work despite their medical treatment or hospitalization.

What should a library in a hospital look like?

We will be:

  • Serving a new site -Kings County Hospital Pediatric Inpatient Psychiatric Unit
  • Issuing teacher cards, placing holds and arranging book delivery to inpatient wards, using the MyLibraryNYC initiative.
  • Tabling once per week in the lobby of the “D” building to notify the hospital community of our services and branch offerings,
  • Collaborating with the Flatbush branch to increase facility visits to 2 per month to serve the Pediatric Inpatient Psychiatric Unit,
  • Providing programs in the hospital that would have been previously impossible.
  • Book giveaway and early literacy packets to expecting mothers and newborns/infants at the WIC clinic to foster early literacy (Kits include - a book, a branded BKLYN bib, growth chart, early literacy material etc. all in a branded BKLYN tote)
  • Provide book drop for hospitalized patrons & families, hospital staff, and general public to return material creating a permanent BKLYN Library presence at the Hospital.
  • Increased funding for books, craft supplies, and PED programs will support effective coordination with teacher curricula
  • Offering CAP* programs at the Flatbush library *CAP is the Children’s Assault Prevention program for Preschool to 12th grade and Adults and emphasizes self-assertion, peer support and communication and reporting skills as prevention strategies. All student workshops are centered on the rights of children and young people to be SAFE, STRONG and FREE.

*Taken from 4 October 2018

This proposal was created for Inclusive Services and Flatbush Library.
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