Prescription For Success Toolkit

A Toolkit for Reach Out and Read Programs, Libraries and Museums

Reach Out and Read, libraries and museums are natural partners in promoting early literacy, and can support each other in many different ways. Collaborations between Reach Out and Read medical providers and museum and library leadership will lead to a cohesive continuum of early education services for families.

Thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Reach Out and Read surveyed medical practices from around the country to learn how they currently work with local libraries and museums. 

This toolkit presents the results of the survey, and is designed to provide ideas and resources for Reach Out and Read coordinators, librarians and museums working together.

Please check back in regularly as we will continue to update the toolkit with new suggestions - and please let us know if you have any experience that you would like to share.

Toolkit header 1


  • The best partnerships often begin with an honest and open informal conversation to explore common interests, learn about one another, and build trust and community.
  • If there is not a Reach Out and Read program near you, please consider connecting with your local medical office and starting a program. Many librarians are Reach Out and Read program coordinators - some libraries fund the Program Coordinator position, contribute funds towards books, and collaborate in raising funds.
  • Check out our printable IMLS bookmarks, which promote library and museum visits.


Toolkit header 2



  • Encouraging families to visit the library as a community resource, for additional books, for books in their first language, as a way to connect with other parents/families.
  • Posting flyers/information about library and museum resources such as ESL classes, children's activities, and story hour in the medical waiting room.
  • Providing library card applications and information about low or no-cost programs to visit the museum.
  • Giving information about the local library and museums as part of a welcome pack at the newborn visit.


  Toolkit header 3


  • Hosting library story hours or providing a reader/storyteller at the Reach Out and Read medical office waiting room, or visiting medical offices with the Library Bookmobile.
  • Printing and distributing Reach Out and Read materials at your museum or library - including Reading Tips for Families in English and Spanish, and age-appropriate bookmarks with advice on reading aloud.
  • Providing information about your museum or library for display in the Reach Out and Read medical office waiting room.
  • Helping to create booklists for children in the Reach Out and Read age range.
  • Donating gently used books, or coordinating a volunteer-run program to provide books for the Reach Out and Read medical office waiting room.
  • Create literacy-rich waiting rooms for Reach Out and Read clinics.

 Toolkit header 4

Book nook 3


  • Submitting joint grant applications to attract funders supporting community collaborations.
  • Promoting early literacy with community stakeholders.
  • Collaborating on initiatives to encourage families to read together.



Toolkit header 5 

IMLS Booklet

  • Reach Out and Read has a range of literacy resources for parents and pediatricians, including reading tips, literacy development milestones, booklists, how to incorporate books into the well-child visit and more....
  • The IMLS Early Learning webpage has information and news about how museums and libraries have special roles in early learning, including links to the Growing Young Minds report on how museums and libraries create lifelong learners.
  • Every Child Ready to Read @ your library is an initiative from the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children focused on supporting parents and caregivers with the early literacy development of their children birth to age five. 

 Toolkit header 6

Take 20 Read Plenty

  • A partnership between Reach Out and Read of Illinois and the Chicago Public Library has launched the "Take 20, Read Plenty" campaign that asks parents and caregivers to pledge to read aloud to their children for 20 minutes every day. Libraries and Reach Out and Read clinics will have special pledge posters, read-aloud booklists and reading aloud tip sheets.
  • New York State Library has embarked on a four-year initiative to train librarians throughout the state in Every Child Ready to Read @ your library. As part of this, staff at all public libraries have been invited to get acquainted with Reach Out and Read, and encouraged to collaborate with local programs.


Book Nook 2

  • Cuyahoga County Library has established a child-friendly branch in the Metrohealth Medical Center in Cleveland and gives a "Baby & Me" kit. Watch this TV interview for more information about Reach Out and Read's partnership with Cuyahoga County Library.
  • Reach Out and Read Washington State partners annually with the King County Library System and Seattle Public Library to distribute Summer Learning program materials to the more than 50 Reach Out and Read programs in King County, WA. The Reach Out and Read programs encourage families to participate in Summer Learning and to visit the library year round.
  • The Michigan State Librarian printed and mailed the Reach Out and Read developmental milestones in  English and  Spanish to every local library in the state as part of a resource packet the libraries receive annually.


Baby and Me

  • Reach Out and Read Massachusetts is collaborating with Boston Children's Museum to reinforce the importance of play in children's lives. Posters are being distributed to all Massachusetts Reach Out and Read sites, along with a letter explaining the initiative.
  • Manitowoc Public Library, WI has received a 2013 Library Services and Technology (LSTA) grant to fund the start-up of a Reach Out and Read program at HFM Pediatrics in Manitowoc.
  • Reach Out and Read Colorado  and the Children's Museum of Denver have collaborated to produce a poster and flyers with tips for parents on helping their preschoolers get ready to read.

As part of the grant from the IMLS, three Reach Out and Read regions, South Carolina, Colorado and Connecticut are piloting state-wide partnerships between Reach Out and Read, libraries and museums. We will be posting more about these pilot projects in our Links section as information becomes available. 

We would love to hear from you if you have examples of successful relationships between Reach Out and Read, libraries and museums that we could include in this section.

IMLS logo

Contact Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read National Center
89 South St, Suite 201
Boston, MA 02111