Fairfax County, Virginia

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Jessica Hudson,

Library Now Offers Children’s Books in Chinese, Arabic, Urdu and Tamil


Image of bags and books
The new books are part of a special “World Languages Bags” collection.

Worried about reading to children in your native language? Don’t be. It is easy for children to learn to read, write and speak English if they have a strong foundation in any language. For adults who may be more comfortable reading to children in Arabic, Chinese, Urdu or Tamil, the library offers World Languages Bags, a project funded by the Fairfax Library Foundation, Friends groups and other community donations. These bags are available with picture books, board books and easy readers. Each bag contains eight books that adults can read again and again to and with children. The library’s collection already supports children and adult books in Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese.

“The library is committed to ensuring residents in Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax have equitable access to library materials,” said Dianne Coan, Director of Operations for the library. “By starting with early literacy materials, including bi-lingual books, the new World Languages Bags support parents, grandparents and caregivers who want to read to young children — a proven strategy for ensuring children are ready to read by the time they enter kindergarten.”

The World Languages Bags are one more element in the library’s comprehensive support of early literacy education. In addition to its popular early literacy storytimes the library offers early literacy outreach, the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program, picture books and other educational books and resources — including the Ready-to-Read newsletter — for families raising young children.

The library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program encourages families to read 1,000 books to children before they start elementary school. Studies show the more vocabulary and oral language children have, the better prepared they are to learn how to read and write when they enter kindergarten.

Instructions for placing a hold on the World Languages Bags in the library’s new catalog:

  1. Type in “picture book bag” on the search bar next to “Keyword search” at the top of the page. Then click the search icon. 
  2. The picture books will populate the page. Choose the language you are interested in under “subjects” on the left side of the screen.
  3. Select “PLACE HOLD” to the right of the picture book bag you want. 
  4. Follow the directions to enter your user information, password and the library branch where you’d like to pick up the book bag.

If you need additional assistance, please ask at the library information desk where staff are happy to connect you with the World Languages Bags in your preferred language.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant