Blogger Ericka Chilcoat

1000 Books and Smiles!

This weekend we held our very first 1000 Books before Kindergarten graduation! We had 10 graduates who reached this milestone. Some registered with our pilot program in October of 2016;  others with our full rollout in January of this year.  I am still flabbergasted at the amount of planning that went into the graduation. Try as we might, there were still last-minute details that threatened to derail us, such as a “broken” printer! Luckily, we pulled it together, thanks to my fabulous detail-oriented partner-in-crime Susan Flinspach, who has put in thousands of volunteer hours toward this program. I believe the parents, children, family members, volunteers and local officials that participated all had a great time.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Reach Out and Read and Library Partnerships Bridge the Literacy Gap

Reach Out and Read (ROR) delivers books to children who wouldn’t otherwise receive them.  The program model for Reach and Read is for pediatricians to give books to families during well child visits from birth through age five. In pediatric exam rooms nationwide, pediatricians provide new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud. In many cases, this will be the first book that a child owns. That’s because Reach Out and Read serves many children in poverty, some whom have no books in the home and have barriers to accessing library services. Oral vocabulary is the number one predictor of school readiness. Considering that 80% of child’s brain is developed by the age of three, talking, reading and singing to children is the best way to help them develop the brain connections they need to be successful in school and beyond. Public libraries offer…

Early Literacy

Drag Queen Story Hour

Drag Queens at the Library? Yes! Drag Queens at the library reading picture books? Definitely YES!! Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) was created in San Francisco, CA by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions.  It has since expanded to New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and a multitude of other cities. Libraries all over the country are embracing this program with open arms! DQSH is a delightful celebration of diversity and gender fluidity. It gives children and their families and caregivers positive role models who break gender stereotypes, and encourage children to be exactly who they want to be. Check out below to see what three librarians think about bringing the program to their libraries, and to see a few photos!   From the New York Public Library, Early Literacy Coordinator, Eva Shapiro, says “Drag Queen Story Hour is a wonderful addition to the New York Public Library’s early literacy programming. This…

Blogger Ericka Chilcoat

Thoughts on Graduation

graduation, graduates, cap and gown

This is the time of year when you can’t avoid the evidence-it’s graduation time. You either know someone who is graduating or someone you know is going to a graduation. A friend’s child barely made it across the finish line and there’s relief. Others are in the throes of meeting final requirements, getting signatures, and making arrangements for the big day and beyond.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Play Café: Storytime & Special Populations

Have you ever prepped for a storytime and no one has shown up? Have you tried a new flyer, a new day, a new time — and still no traction? You read blog posts with tips for crowd control and think, Must be nice… I feel you, friend. In the Oakland Public Library system, some branches regularly pack the room while others sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to, well, crickets. But we know there are toddlers in the neighborhood — strollers are everywhere.  A David and Lucile Packard Foundation study told us that caregivers in our community are looking for the things storytime can provide: networking and community building, early literacy support, all in a safe, free environment. Clearly our message wasn’t working. So we made some changes. We stopped saying “Storytime,” which is meaningful in some communities but was insider jargon in ours. We renamed it “Play Café,” a…