Blogger Meg Smith

Grant Supports Early Literacy and Family Corners

Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center in Fayetteville, NC established interactive Early Literacy Family (ELF) Corners at all eight locations to encourage families to develop pre-reading skills with their children from birth through five years old. ELF Corners enrich children’s learning through interactive manipulatives to encourage children and their caregivers to talk, sing, read, write, and play. Board books, games, puzzles and imaginative play resources support interactions between adult and child. Youth Services librarians utilize these engaging manipulatives to model Every Child Ready to Read best practices and promote books and resources through individual consultations with adults to strengthen pre-reading skills. Impromptu story time experiences demonstrated effective reading techniques. ELF Corners provide a non-threatening environment for new families to engage in literacy activities. As a parent summarized her early literacy experiences for her child, “every time I walk into my library, I never leave disappointed. My daughter is more…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Congratulations to the 2018 Light the Way Grant Winner

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has announced that New Carrollton Public Library is the recipient of the 2017-2018 ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved” Grant. As the winner of the grant, the library will receive $3,000 for their Literacy & Library Skills for Refugee Families program. Literacy & Library Skills for Refugee Families started in April 2017. The program was initiated during a time when the library, (located in New Carrollton, MD), was being renovated. With the encouragement of  library administration, Program Coordinator, Meisywe Cavanaugh, decided to start visiting  a community housing center about five miles from the main library. Cavanaugh found that there was a large population of refugee families and young children living in this area. Currently, families who attend the library program are from: Afghanistan, Syria, Bhutan, Myanmar, Ethiopia and other Arabic speaking…

Blogger Meg Smith

Stories Cross Boundaries

  For Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center in Fayetteville, NC, March is associated with storytelling. This March celebrates our 9th annual Storytelling Festival. Expanded from one week to an entire month, this year will offer even more performers and programs to promote cultural diversity. The theme, Your Passport to the World, integrates international folktales, oral storytelling, and puppetry through a dynamic celebration of world cultures. Our free and inclusive festival provides one of the only literature-based, cultural arts programs many families may experience within our community. Our Community Relations Department created passports for each participating child and customers will receive passport stickers when they attend festival programming or check out books from our international themed book displays. We are excited to see children’s stickers from around the world as they share in this experience with their families. Collaboration remains a central component of our festival. With partnerships with…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Last Year’s “Light the Way” Grant Winner: Partnering with Juvenile Detention Facilities to Provide Maker-Space Outreach and Programming Using Music

The J. Lewis Crozer Library in Chester and the Middletown Free Library are located just over six miles apart in southeastern Pennsylvania. However, the libraries’ service populations are very different. The city of Chester has an unemployment rate of 9% and a poverty rate of 33%, with almost half of those under the age of 18 living in poverty. The city of 34,000 is also among the most diverse in the state, with a population that is approximately 75% African American, 17.2% White, and 9% Hispanic. Middletown has a suburban population of 15,807, which is 93.7% White and 3.1% African-American, and a median annual income of $77,000. However, the two libraries have a shared goal of expanding outreach and programming offerings for young people who are underserved by libraries.

Blogger Public Awareness Committee

Strengthening Communities Through Libraries: STEAM Programming Toolkit and Minigrants

Science. Technology. Engineering. Art. Math. Libraries all over are offering children and families the opportunity to experience STEAM programming on a daily basis. The beauty of these interdisciplinary programs is that they allow children a chance to explore, learn, and think creatively in a vibrant community space.     Last year, ALSC received funding from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to provide twelve minigrants to ALSC members. These minigrants enabled libraries to provide out-of-school time STEAM learning for children in their communities. This year, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has again presented ALSC with a $124,528 Youth Literacy grant.   If you have a fabulous idea for STEAM learning at your library and are in need of funding for your brilliant plans, you can apply for one of twelve $5,000 minigrants here:  http://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/CYdeVGNdgW5jf2db2EMub1f1 . Applications are due by October 20th, so start brainstorming today!   ALSC has also developed the Librarian…

Blogger Renee Grassi

Autism Welcome Here: Grant Opportunity

                If your library is looking to fund a new project or service that welcomes people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at your library, consider the Autism Welcome Here Grant. The “Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More” grant honors the groundbreaking work of Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected co-founder, Meg Kolaya, for her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries with the autism community, and bringing awareness of the needs of individuals with ASD and their families to the library community. It is sponsored by Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected. All types of libraries, either in the U.S. or Canada, are encouraged to apply.  Proposals can fund projects or services directed at any age group.  Applicants may propose to initiate a new, creative program or service, bring an established, successful program or service to their library for the first time, or enhance…

ALA Annual 2017

From Alabama to Chicago and Back Again

Thanks to a grant from ALSC and Penguin Random House, I was able to attend my first national library conference.  I have been working in children’s libraries since 2005 as a page, and I’ve been hooked ever since! At the end of 2014, I became the Head of the Children’s Department at Homewood Public Library outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Living in Alabama in the summer with 90 degree weather and 90% humidity made me especially excited for the conference!  I have never been to Chicago, and I relished the opportunity to visit the windy city. Here are my six favorite experiences from ALA 2017: 1. Visiting the Harold Washington Library! The new children’s space at the Harold Washington Library opened recently to patrons, and it is an inspiring and innovative space.  Among the shelves of books are dozens of play spaces for all ages ranging from birth to tweens.  Parents…

ALA Annual 2017

Go for the Gold: My ALA Penguin Random House Grant Experience

When I became a children’s librarian in 2014, I tried to adopt the mantra of  just try things. I took that attitude and applied for the Penguin Random House Young Readers Grant (and many other grants and programs). I was fortunate enough to win the grant and attend my first full ALA conference in Chicago. I had attended conferences before but there were five special perks from this grant that I would not have received elsewhere: The full experience. Because the 2017 conference was in my hometown of Chicago ,many of my friends and colleagues attended for a day or two. With my stipend, I was able to attend the entire conference from start to finish and truly reap all the benefits. (Example: a notebook full of awesome ideas I have already started to implement and a pile of amazing ARC’s). Opportunity to attend separate from my library. The stipend paid for my conference…