First Steps to Literacy Trust Provides Books for County Newborns

The Tuscarawas County Public Library System is continuing efforts to ensure every child has access to books.

The First Steps to Literacy: Books for Babies Trust fund was established in 2008 by New Philadelphia native Betty Lou Honaker who set out with a goal to provide books to newborn babies in Tuscarawas County each year.

The trust was established with the hope to sustain the project for many years to come. Each year, 90 percent of the interest income is used to purchase books for newborns while the remaining interest income and the trust fund is reinvested for use in future years.

The trust allowed the library to provide 81 books to babies born at Union Hospital in 2017.

“Supporting early literacy development is a main objective of our library,” explained the library’s Children’s Services Manager Kathryn Green. “As the trust grows, we have been able to provide more books to newborns each year.”

“Betty Lou has lived her life dedicated to reading, learning, children, and libraries. She is a special lady,” added Director Michelle McMorrow Ramsell. “We are honored to assist her in sharing the gift of literacy to the youngest members of our community.”

Ramsell explained the Tuscarawas County Public Library welcomes others to contribute a tax-deductible donation to the First Steps to Literacy Trust fund.

For more information on how to donate or to find out how to donate to other library projects, visit or contact Director Michelle McMorrow Ramsell at 330-364-4474 ext. 237.

Michaela Madison Reporting

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