Kinder Ready Clinics

Little Libraries

Little Libraries

Creating space for early literacy

What Are Little Libraries?

Early childhood literacy is one of the main predictors for success once children start school. Born from the value that all children should have access to books and opportunities to read, Little Libraries was formed in the Fall of 2018 to offer a free supply of books to children in local clinic waiting rooms. Offering books from birth through high school, Little Libraries delivers nearly 4,000 books each year to safety net clinics in San Mateo County and Santa Clara. Participating clinics include: Fair Oaks, Gardner Packard, Mayview, and Ravenswood.

Since the fall of 2017 Little Libraries has distributed over 8,382 books to our partnering clinics


I'll go and I'll look and then there's like one kid like reading to a bunch of kids, all sitting at the bookshelf… you can't make this stuff up. It's so exactly what we want to be doing… 
I've walked by and there's been a moment like that where either like a mom is reading to a bunch of kids, or an older kid is reading to a bunch of little kids, and nobody's on their cell phone, and everybody's... just being present in the waiting room. 
-MD at one of our Little Libraries site

Story Times

Promoting reading in the clinic

About Our Program

Across the mid-peninsula, there is a growing educational achievement gap along racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines. Much of this disparity is rooted in differences in early education - Children from the poorest families hear 30 million fewer words by the time they are 4 years old compared to their higher income peers.

As part of the Pediatric Advocacy Program at Stanford, the Mayview (Mountain View) and Ravenswood (East Palo Alto) clinics have established “little libraries”  in the waiting rooms where children and their families can engage with and take books for free.


One child was whispering with two otherchildren: "Are you sure we can take the books?". I overheard and said "Yes, please do!" The child's eyes lit up and he spent a long time in a hyper-focused discussion with his siblings about what books to take. He loved the dragon slayer series and when I feel good about myself. His siblings fawned over The Fault in Our Stars and wanted to share the book together since there was only one cop
A little boy gave his mom her phone back and came running back to me, and we read 2 books together!
-Storytimes Volunteer

Collaborative Mural Art Project

For many low-income children, a pediatrician is the only professional they interact with before they start kindergarten. This fact inspired Jecca Steinberg, a second-year Stanford medical student and Schweitzer Fellow, to think about how that interaction could improve these children's school readiness, which often lags behind that of their peers. If these kids could be equally well-prepared for kindergarten, their potential for economic mobility would skyrocket.

In an innovative collaborative effort, the pediatrics waiting room of Fair Oaks Health Center in Redwood City, Calif.was turned into a learning center.

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MayView Clinic Mural

In 2017, Eleni Ramphos worked with artist Sean Howe to create a second mural in Mayview Clinic (Mountain View) and a third is being planned. Now, parents read with their children as they wait for appointments and siblings teach each other with the games integrated into the Spanish and English mural elements. The refurbishment restores dignity to the space; families say they now feel appreciated by the clinic

In the News

PUBLICATION (Oct. 2018): Steinberg, Jecca R., Eleni Ramphos, Janine S. Bruce, and Lisa J. Chamberlain. “What Do Clinical Environments Say to Our Patients? A Replicable Model for Creative Advocacy.” American Journal of Public Health 108, no. 11 (November 2018): 1509–10.

SCOPE (Sept. 2015): Stanford med student helps turn pediatrics waiting room into a center for school-readiness

SJSU Newsroom (March 2019): SJSU Artist Adds Color to Pediatric Clinic and Promotes Learning

Fair Oaks Clinic: Before

In 2015, Jecca Steinberg (Stanford Medical Student), Dr. Neel Patel, artist Lauren Toomer, clinical staff and the Redwood City community set out to design and paint a mural to enhance the school readiness experience of patients in the waiting room.

Fair Oaks Clinic: In progress

Stanford artist Lauren Toomer volunteered her time and energy to create the mural, eliciting community feedback to ensure the end product was "community inspired."

Fair Oaks: After

To compliment the mural, Fair Oaks contributed the funds to add 3 school readiness learning panels and colorful children's chairs.


Santa Clara Valley Bascom Pediatric Clinic Transformation

The mural at Valley Medical Center’s Bascom Clinic was completed in February 2019 by artist Renae McCollum, who has her teaching credential in Art and will receive her Masters in Art Education from SJSU in 2019. She volunteered 7 days of her time to complete this 10ft X 22ft indoor mural, allowing families of the safety net clinic to promote their children’s early learning of numbers, letters, and words while engaging with a fun under-the-sea theme.