Libraries’ facilitation of early brain & childhood development

“Child development is a foundation for community development. “

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria is a pediatrician, and sometimes, a children’s librarian. He speaks about early literacy and how critical it is to child development. His work, and other studies, have shown that the biggest determinant of health is education. And literacy is a critical component of education.

Dr. Navsaria explains that toxic stress in children’s lives can have a physical, impact – actually damaging the developmental biology of humans. It is possible to fix some effects of toxic stress, through protective “interventions of adversity,” and exposure to what Dr. Navsaria calls a healthy trajectory for development during the early years of birth-age 5.  Language development, literacy, and print awareness are part of the experience that leads that healthy trajectory.

What can the library do to help with positive child development?

Many of the healthy trajectory interactions can be found or encouraged at the library, either through specific programming, or engagement with children at the library.

Literacy as a Family Activity – libraries encourage families to read together. Most libraries have areas and activities for children to explore and be comfortable. Libraries provide reading time, areas for parents and children to read together, and access to a variety of books to take home and integrate into daily reading time.

Dr. Navsaria stated that the higher quality the book, the more likely it will resonate with the child. Librarians can help with reader’s advisory for high quality books that will engage and excite children.

More can always be done – outreach and community collaboration to reach more children, and their parents – with the goal of getting more books in the hands of more children.

Reading should be fun, and libraries can help with that. Displays, signage, and an abundance of books can open a world of stories, images, and words to young children – teaching them to learn to love books, before they even learn to read.


Navsaria, D., MD. (2014, April 10). How Promoting Literacy is Key to Early Brain and Childhood Development. Retrieved from
Navsaria, D., MD. (2016, May 26). Dr. Dipesh Navsaria on Importance of the first 1,000 Days of Life. Retrieved from


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