What is Booksburgh?

“Booksburgh” is a program intended to promote children’s literacy at the UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. The program is run through a partnership between physicians, the Library, and the Department of Volunteer Services.

Currently, Booksburgh stocks the bookshelves in the second and third floor Outpatient Clinics with donated children’s books. Children and families are encouraged to “adopt” books, taking them home where they can continue to enjoy reading as a shared parent-child activity.

Bookmarks are also available and provide reading tips for young readers and their families. Additionally, Booksburgh strives to have volunteers available in the outpatient clinic areas to help children choose a book and to read aloud.

Why does a child’s access to books matter?

  • Books are brain boosters. The more a child is read to from the very start, the more his or her brain will grow and language will develop.
  • Children who are read to are more likely to progress to reading themselves in primary grades, which predisposes them to overall school success.
  • Growing up with books promotes early literacy skills.
  • Reading proficiency by the third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success.
  • Approximately two-thirds of children each year in the United States fail to develop reading proficiency by the end of the third grade.
  • One in five children has significant difficulty learning to read.

Who can I contact about the Booksburgh Program?

The physician founders of the Booksburgh program are Dr. Jessica Garrison and Dr. Catalina Hoyos. They can be reached by calling 412-692-5135.

How can I donate books to the Booksburgh Program?

The best way to support Booksburgh is to donate books to Children’s Hospital’s Library. Please view the links below for more information:

How can I volunteer to help with the Booksburgh Program?

I’m not visiting the second or third floor clinics. Where else can I find books at Children’s Hospital?

The Children’s Hospital Family Resource Center and Library is located on the sixth floor and is open 8:30 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday. The library runs an “adopt-a-book” program similar to Booksburgh. After hours or on weekends, pediatric inpatients can access books and media through our Child Life program. Learn more about Children’s Library services.

General Reading Tips

  • Keep multiple books around the house and let your child help choose the book you read together.
  • Read labels and signs wherever you go-- this is how children learn new words.
  • Even if you don’t read well, talking and singing are ways to help your child learn new words.

Infants to 3 year olds may like:

  • To point and name the pictures while reading
  • To move around while you are reading
  • To help turn the pages
  • Books with animals and animal noises

3 to 5 year olds may like:

  • Alphabet and counting books
  • To read at bedtime
  • To be asked questions about the stories they are reading

School-aged children may like:

  • To read books about topics they are interested in
  • Books with short chapters and lots of excitement to keep them interested
  • To explain what they liked about a particular book or chapter
  • To have reading time set aside for the whole family

Want to learn more? Additional information can be found on these great websites