BoekStart (Netherlands)

Working with libraries, health centres, day care centres, publishers and other partners, BoekStart (Dutch for BookStart) encourages parents across the Netherlands to start reading with their baby and toddler.

With backing from national and local governments, a small suitcase with two books and tips are gifted to babies in their first year. At present, around 60,000 babies (about 35% of the total new borns in The Netherlands) get this small suitcase at their local Library branch every year and are registrated as members of the Library.

As an extension of the baby programme, BoekStart in Daycare Centres was launched in 2011. It’s aim was to bring children in the age group of 0 to 4 years, their parents and childcare employees into intensive contact with books and reading books through daycare centres by establishing links between them and the library. About 1.900 daycare centres (22% of all centres) and their libraries joined the programme since then and improved their reading environment.

BoekStart was launched officially in 2009 at six library locations. Since 2015, over 99% of the libraries in the Netherlands work with BoekStart, and benefit from the many children and parents who join the library as a result of the programme.